By: Alejandro Montalvo
On a cold January night in Carson City the bustling energy of the young, enthusiastic filmmakers fills the lobby of the Brewery Arts Center, a charmingly classic theatre.
Approximately 100 people excitedly converse in the lobby, sharing congratulatory sentiments and cheer. They are actors, actresses, filmmakers, friends and family members and they’ve gathered to celebrate a handful of local films made by filmmakers. Five dollars at the door is a small donation for entry, half going to support the venue and half going to pay entry fees for the films to get into film festivals.
Rebecca Doyle, a 2012 graduate of Bishop Manogue, hurriedly makes last minute preparations in the venue before people are due to arrive. She’s hesitant to state she’s in charge, but many of the evening’s responsibilities, such as emceeing and calling shots, have fallen to her. Once everyone has found a seat, the lights dim and the show begins. Two creative PSAs, two music videos, one short documentary, one horror film and three dramatic shorts fill out roughly an hour and ten minutes of entertainment.
Two particular films that stood out were “TJ Kolesnik Kendama Player” and “Through the Lens”. The former is a short documentary directed by Austin Bachman, a current UNR student, about Kendama, a kind of cupandball game and its players in the Tahoe area. TJ Kolesnik, the subject of the film, is a Kendama professional who shares his thoughts on Kendama’s popularity and its importance. The film highlights Kolesnik’s skills quite well, utilizing slow motion to accurately capture all of his intricate moves. Bachman is currently working with other Kendama content creators around the world on a more comprehensive documentary.
“Through the Lens” is a short dramatic film about an aspiring college photographer who finds artistic purpose. It’s the longest of all the films shown at the premiere, clocking in at 20 minutes, but thanks to brevity and some charm, the film doesn’t feel it. Onscreen it’s apparent that a lot of passion and dedication was put toward this short film, as its emotional core is strong and relies more on showing small details of a budding relationship rather than expository dialogue. Refreshingly, none of the short films express any trace of pretension or pompousness, which is often a trait of young filmmakers.
After the premiere in Carson City, each of these films is set to be entered into film festivals across the country.
“It’s about making sure this art makes it beyond our borders” Doyle said.
All of the films display the Reno/Tahoe area in wonderful detail “you want to showcase what Nevada has to offer” says Nick Schab, another current UNR student.
“Sleeping Just Fine”, a music video directed by Jacob Fuller & Nick Schab featuring the music of thefaded, was shot near Donner Summit and lovingly captures the lush landscape in black and white. The other music video, “Good Morning You”, produced by Rebecca Doyle featuring the music of Grant Davis, wonderfully captures Lake Tahoe locations. Given the beautiful locations it’s clear why filmmakers like Doyle and Schab return to shoot in Nevada.
The films shown at the premiere won’t be available to see publicly until after they’ve gone through the festival circuit, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for them. While not always the most subtle, each of these films displays a refreshing earnestness and passion for filmmaking that promises a bright future for cinema.
Alejandro Montalvo can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @TheSagbrush.