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NMSU CMI feature cleans up at Santa Fe Film Festival

The first feature film from the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University earned top honors at the 10th Annual Santa Fe Film Festival in December.

"Becoming Eduardo" is the first feature film from the NMSU Creative Media Institute. It won two awards at the Santa Fe Film Festival in December. (Image courtesy Rod McCall)

"Becoming Eduardo," written, directed and co-produced by NMSU instructor Rod McCall, received the 2009 Milagro Award for Best Latino Film and the 2009 New Mexico Filmmaker Award, the "Tamalewood Award."

McCall, however, almost missed the awards ceremony altogether as he was out to dinner when the winners were announced. McCall said his producer, who was at the ceremony hosted by Gov. Bill Richardson, called him to come over as soon as possible because they'd won two awards.

"I, of course, knew that the audiences loved 'Becoming Eduardo,' after being in several screenings," McCall said. "But I never expected the film, because it's so small, to win any awards, so I didn't go to the awards ceremony."

When McCall arrived at the ceremony he said he "discovered that 'Becoming Eduardo' was apparently the hit of the whole festival, winning the two awards?more than any other film."

"It was a rewarding experience after spending almost a year-and-a-half trying to finish the film, which we just did right before the SFFF," McCall said.
Not a stranger to film festivals, McCall's first two feature films, "Cheatin' Hearts" and "Lewis & Clark & George," both had world premieres at The Sundance Film Festival.

McCall, a former television commercial director and screenwriter, walked away at the height of his career path to find his way into independent film directing. He moved from the chaos of California to the solitude of a 19th century restored hacienda in Hillsboro, N.M. and found his niche. "I found a place and a culture to write movies about," McCall said. "'Becoming Eduardo' is my valentine of sorts to New Mexico. The Latino culture is very close to my heart for a lot of reasons."

"Becoming Eduardo" was filmed during the summer of 2008 and spent nine months in post-production. At a screening last year at the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces, 500 attendees gave the film a standing ovation.

For more information on the film or to view the trailer, visit http://www.becomingeduardomovie.com.