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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Student film runs amok

    Media arts senors JorDan Fuller, left, and Justin Mashouf collaborated on their short film. The Runners for a class project.  The film, which focuses on border issues, has been screened at the Tucson Film and Music Festival and will be shown again at this weekends Santa Fe Film Fest.
    Media arts senors JorDan Fuller, left, and Justin Mashouf collaborated on their short film. “”The Runners”” for a class project. The film, which focuses on border issues, has been screened at the Tucson Film and Music Festival and will be shown again at this weekend’s Santa Fe Film Fest.

    Two UA media arts students have been selected to show their short film “”The Runners,”” shot in the desert near the Mexico and Arizona border, at multiple film festivals around the country.

    “”The Runners”” is about a Mexican man who crosses the border illegally, marries an American woman and discovers it is not as easy as he thought to achieve the American Dream.

    Seniors Justin Mashouf and JorDan Fuller were taking a fiction production class together this spring when they teamed up to write the film.

    The class assignment was to make a five-minute production, but Mashouf and Fuller had enough material to lenghten it to 20 minutes.

    The film took more than three months to complete.

    The crew ran into a little trouble while on location, including run-ins with construction workers and the U.S. Customs and
    Border Patrol.

    “”We had drunk construction workers with guns tell us we needed to give them money because we caused them to stop working,”” Fuller said. “”Everyone was scared and we didn’t have any money. We finally convinced them to take two turkey sandwiches and leave us alone. We saved our lives with turkey sandwiches.””

    The crew worked out of a large white “”dog catcher van,”” as Fuller and Mashouf called it, which caught the attention of Border Patrol agents who heard that illegal immigrants were hiding out in the back of the van, Fuller said.

    “”I even had a helicopter 20 feet away from me following me down by the border,”” Fuller said. “”They would circle around and look with a scope to see who was in my van.””

    Given these circumstances, the film soon became more than a mere class assignment.

    “”We took the film much more seriously than our school,”” Mashouf said. “”We put everything we had into the film. We knew the class screening wasn’t going to be the last place it is going.””

    Fuller said he thought similarly.

    “”We ignored the time length,”” Fuller said. “”We wanted a good quality project when we were done, and I am glad we detached ourselves from the rules, because the film has given us the opportunity to meet a lot of people for our careers.””

    “”The Runners”” was almost not screened at the end of the production class in May because it exceeded the time length.

    “”We made a lot of enemies,”” Fuller said. “”(Classmates) thought we were trying to make them look bad.””

    The film was screened again at the Tucson Film and Music Festival, a Sitka Film Society screening and the Lone Star International Film Fest. It will show this weekend at the Santa Fe Film Fest.

    “”We are still hoping to hear back from a few other festivals,”” Fuller said. “”We are hoping it will get picked up by Cine Las Americas because they deal with border issues and Latino festivals.””

    Having the films screened at festivals serves mainly as a means to network, he and Mashouf said.

    “”There is no money, no market and no commercial benefits,”” Mashouf said. “”The festivals are a filtered crowd. It is very exclusive. You meet potential actors for your next film.””

    Despite the troubles they had during production, the experience and success of “”The Runners”” have encouraged the filmmakers to pursue further projects.

    Fuller is currently writing and developing a feature film with a friend from New York about a journalist who travels with two Mexican kids across Mexico in search of their father in the United States. It will be shot mostly in Mexico and should be completed next spring.

    Mashouf is currently working on an identity film detailing his American-Iranian nationality, mentioning the U.S.’ tense political situation with Iran. Mashouf will be in Iran next month to shoot the film.

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