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Local filmmakers showcase talents in cinema competition

Post Independent/Kelley Cox From left: Brandon McDuffey, Paul Molak, Nic Scher, Brianna Rhodes and Hamilton Pevec are among the finalists for Aspen Filmfest and Plum TV's Local Filmmakers Showcase.
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CARBONDALE – In no more than 7 minutes, filmmaker Brianna Rhodes captures the struggle of a Latino family emmigrating to the United States.For the 13-year-old Local Filmmakers Showcase finalist, the challenge was not in her lack of experience or maturity. She might be an eighth-grader, but she had no problem fitting in with older filmmaking colleagues all of them males during a photo shoot at the Crystal Theatre Wednesday.For Rhodes, the real test was illustrating the migrants’ journey through the scorching Arizona desert while actually filming in Western Colorado.”It’s kind of a reenactment of an immigrant family, a mother and daughter,” she said. “I show the family in the desert. There’s an organization in the film called No More Deaths that leaves food, water and clothing in the desert for immigrants.”Rhodes, Mario Loya and Adrian Hermosillo filmed “Por una Vida Mejor (For a Better Life)” last summer during Aspen Filmfest’s Latino Youth Documentary project. The two-week video camp teaches scholarship recipients how to produce a short documentary.

“I had everyone there at the workshop help in the film,” said Rhodes, whose film will be shown at Aspen Filmfest and PlumTV’s free community screening of the fifth annual Local Filmmakers Showcase at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Wheeler Opera House. “My video is not as factual as a real immigrant family, but I hope people see how difficult it is, and the struggle involved. But they’ll see that in the end, there’s always a helping hand out there.”Like Rhodes, Brandon McDuffey, a 17-year-old senior at Yampah Mountain High School, took the opportunity in his short film “Labels” to approach a serious issue.But that doesn’t mean “Labels” is necessarily serious.”It definitely has the basic message that labels, especially stereotypes in high school, are bad. Labels don’t really mean anything or tell you anything about a person,” said McDuffey, a first-time Showcase competitor who will attend Colorado Mountain College this fall. “But it’s a comedy animation that definitely has a South Park style.”

In his short titled “Informal Wallop,” 18-year-old Yampah senior Nic Scher also took an amusing angle to convey his message.”It’s an indulgence of the muse,” said Scher, who plans to pursue various forms of art expression, including cinematography, during his self-designed curriculum at Evergreen State College in Washington this fall. “It’s kind of a fun piece – it’s pretty light and amusing.”A Vancouver, British Columbia, native, 23-year-old Carbondale filmmaker Hamilton Pevec took an entirely different approach in his film “10%.””It’s a film noir tragedy about loneliness. People can expect to be engaged – it’s nice to look at,” said Pevec, who has been an independent film producer since the age of 17. “There’s only one actor and no dialogue. It’s visual storytelling at its very best.”Showcase finalist Paul Molak, a 37-year-old filmmaker from Basalt, said his short “Asmodeus” visually tells the tale of a heroine’s call to a challenge. A relative Local Filmmakers Showcase veteran, Molak said audiences can expect a different type of presentation at this year’s Showcase.”I was in one last year where I got shot,” he said. “It was a Quentin Tarantino-type film.”



Molak, whose work has been shown at four international film festivals during his career, said he’s not sure what to anticipate Saturday.”I know there are a lot of good filmmakers out there,” he said. ‘I think there are a lot of talented high school student filmmakers.”Don’t forget the middle school filmmakers, too.Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518aclark@postindependent.com


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