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CMI students represent the university and state at Plaza Classic Film Festival

Students from the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University showcased their work last month as their short films were chosen to be included in this year's Plaza Classic Film Festival, held Aug. 5-15 in El Paso.

New Mexico State University students and alumni from the Creative Media Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences took part in El Paso's Plaza Classic Film Festival Aug. 5-15. Matt Wilson (left) and Sean Pilcher's short film "Monsters" screened in the Border Shorts category Saturday, Aug. 14. (NMSU photo by Donyelle Kesler)

The films of Benito Barcenas, Matt Wilson, Sean Pilcher and Jonathan Herrera were included in the Border Shorts category, which featured short films made in El Paso and the surrounding area. The students were the only participants representing not only NMSU, but also New Mexico.

International student and sophomore Herrera shot his short film, "Motel Room 11," entirely in Spanish in Juarez, Mexico. While the film took only a day to shoot, Herrera spent a month editing and perfecting his film. Shooting the film with his wife and friend, Herrera created a film he said was inspired from a combination of fiction and the 10 o'clock news in which a man appears to be cheating on his wife at a motel room but in reality makes a desperate attempt to save her.

"This was my first script and short film," Herrera said. "It was exciting to see a positive reaction from people who weren't my peers, professors or involved with making the film and I received a lot of good feedback."

"Motel Room 11" can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlMuB-HnDiA.

As part of a class project, Sean Pilcher, who graduated from NMSU last May, convinced his friend and peer Matt Wilson to help in the creation of "Monsters." Shooting over five weekends, the two recruited student actors and a nine-year-old boy to tell their fantasy/adventure story in which a young boy battles his bedroom monsters with the help of his toys and stuffed animals.

The short film not only screened at Plaza Classic, but also at the 2009 Sante Fe Film Festival and the 2009 Orlando Film Festival in which they took home the award for Audience Choice for Student Short. The pair also got to watch their film with an audience at a premiere and screening for middle school students, both held by CMI.

"It's great to see your film through the eyes of an audience," Wilson said. "You're able to see parts you didn't think were important that the audience reacts best to."

"It was a lot funnier to people than we expected it would be," Pilcher added. "When we watched it with the kids one part even scared them. It was a lot of fun to watch with them."

"Monsters" can be viewed online at http://vimeo.com/8925204.

NMSU alumnus Benito Barcenas made his second appearance at the festival with his film "Kricket."

For his senior thesis, Barcenas spent a year working to put together his short film, spending the fall 2008 semester concentrating on the script and beginning production the following spring. The finished product was a comedy aimed at children but to be enjoyed by everyone.

"When the movie first premiered, I was really nervous and wondered if people were going to laugh and understand my kind of humor," Barcenas said. "It was such a huge relief when I heard people laugh at the parts that I intended them to laugh at and not the other way around. It made me feel great; that's what film is really all about, entertaining the audience with your motion pictures."

The film was shot from January to March 2009. Once shooting wrapped, Barcenas spent the next month-and-a-half editing, adding color and sound and computer graphics and perfecting his special effects scene.

Barcenas graduated in December 2009 with a degree in creative media.

"Kricket" can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvBPKkpf_8s.