For the last 16 years, students at the North East School of the Arts have been creating and screening their shorts, chosen by their peers, at the 800 lb. Film Festival. The faculty and staff of NESA’s cinema department train students through all aspects of a movie’s production, even traveling to Los Angeles to film on location, like last year’s short Ordinance of Good Men, written and directed by Cinema North East alum Devin Woodard. The drama, which was chosen to screen in the Young Filmmakers category during last year’s Austin Film Festival, is about a group of bounty hunters intent on murdering an alleged terrorist in The Beverly Hills Hotel for their Charlie’s Angels-like boss. The group soon discovers they have been duped and must take an I Heart Huckabees moment to figure out their purpose in life.
Existential angst continues in Hamartia, written and co-directed by Cinema North East senior Cristian Perez and former San Antonian Jaida Scott. The mute protagonist’s “fatal flaw” (the definition of the movie’s title) may be more her desire to feel accepted in a world filled with confusion, doubt and uncertainty, than the tumor that’s growing on a frontal lobe in her brain. She tries to escape her diagnosis by lamenting over her past failures and running through Eisenhower Park. Although Hamartia has yet to be voted into the 800 lb. Film Festival, it won first place at this year’s CineFestival.
From shots of a setting sun behind the mesquite trees of Eisenhower Park, to the mean streets of a mythical city in Mangolia’s Finest, Pérez flexes his directing chops, and this time with the help of writer and fellow Cinema East sophomore Clara Martínez. The claymation short follows two pieces of misfit food named Peanut and Grape as they attempt to save the citizens of Mangolia.
Whether it’s action, drama, or animation, the festival provides these young filmmakers with the experience of seeing their work on the big screen in front of an audience.
Students from NESA’s Cinema East conclude their year-long cinematic journey with the 800 lb. Film Festival 7 p.m. May 14 at Santikos Northwest 14 (7600 I-10 West). Entrance fee is $7 general admission, five and under free. For more info, visit cinemanortheast.com.