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Desert Light Film Festival encourages youth interest in New Mexico film industry

Date: 04/26/2011

Young people interested in film will showcase their talent for the public to view at the Desert Light Film Festival in Alamogordo April 29.

The festival is presented by New Mexico State University Alamogordo and the Otero County Film Office and sponsored by J.C. Penney.

All films shown during the festival are submissions from New Mexican middle- and high-school students. The winning filmmakers are presented with cash and other prizes at an awards ceremony held after the film screenings.

"We want to give them a forum," said Joan Griggs, director of community education services at NMSU Alamogordo. "We hope to increase the number of New Mexican filmmakers who will ultimately participate in the professional film industry here in New Mexico."

Some of the prizes that may encourage students to continue their work include an opportunity to shadow filmmakers in the state tourism department or animators at Sony Studios in Albuquerque.

In addition to the screenings and awards ceremony, participants will be able to attend workshops given by professionals in the film industry. This year the workshops include "Special Effects Makeup for Film," "Editing Using Final Cut Pro," "Maya Animation" and "Pyrotechnics and Special Effects."

The evening wraps up with a trip to White Sands, where the students well get a briefing about filming at the national monument. After the information session, some of the top film submissions will be shown on the dunes.

New to the competition and likely to show up on the dunes of White Sands are submissions from the category of Experimental Film. The organizers created this category after receiving entries that didn't fit into the existing classifications (narrative, documentary, animation, music video and tourism video). For this category the students were instructed to shy away from linear storytelling, challenge traditional boundaries and focus on creative control of images.

The Desert Life Film Festival was the first statewide film competition in New Mexico aimed at middle- and high-school students. The festival and competition has been growing since it first began in 2004 and a record 112 films were entered this year from schools across the state.

For more information about the festival contact Griggs at 575-439-3626 or jgriggs@nmsua.nmsu.edu, or visit http://www.filmotero.com/. The event is free and open to the public.

Written by Melisa P. Danho.

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