Albuquerque Journal – Short film in New Mexico Goes a Long Way

The following appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. Andy Kastelic graduated in May 2017 with his BA in Media Arts. Matthew McDuffie is a Professor of Practice, teaching screenwriting in the department.

By Adrian Gomez / Journal Arts and Entertainment Editor
Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 12:02am

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was a rigorous 48 hours.

And Andy Kastelic and his team pushed through to complete the short film “Secondhand Sunset.”

The short won big at the 48 Hour Film Project last summer.

Now, Kastelic is on his way to France for the Festival de Cannes which runs through May 28.

The premise behind the Albuquerque-based 48 Hour Film Project is simple. A kickoff event is held where each team draws a genre of film. Then there are three elements – a prop, a character and a line of dialogue – given to each team that must be included in the film. And it has to be completed in 48 hours.

The local win qualified the roughly 8-minute-long film for a screening at Filmapalooza in Seattle recently.

“Secondhand Sunset” will be screened this weekend at the Cannes Court Métrage.

“This is a big thing for us,” Kastelic says. “We never thought that we’d have this opportunity. Hopefully, the experience will be excellent.”

Kastelic is the writer and director of the film.

“Secondhand Sunset” tells the story of the lives and dreams of a farming family in the 1940s, as they clash with the harsh realities that surround them, ultimately testing the love and understanding they have for each other.

The screening in France was brought about by a partnership between the Cannes Film Festival and the 48 Hour Film Project.

There will be 15 short films screening from all over the world. Of those, four are from the United States.

Kastelic, who recently graduated from the University of New Mexico [Media Arts], grew up in Bosque Farms and had an affinity for telling stories of the everyman.

“The struggling farmers and the workers of the world,” he says. “I grew up next to a dairy. I wanted to use the narrative of a struggling farming family.”

Kastelic was joined by Jannis Schelenz, who took helm as the director of photography.

The actors in the film are Sarah Minnich, Bob Jesser, Marc Comstock and Darcel Danielle.

With the time constraints of the competition, Kastelic says there were moments where he didn’t think the film would get finished.

“We put in 12 hours the first day,” he says. “Then we went back to shoot the next morning because the scene required natural light. And we needed to do a reshoot.”

Kastelic isn’t going with any expectations. He only wants to make some connections.

“I can’t wait to meet the other 48 people there screening with us,” he says. “It’s such an incredible opportunity. I hope the film resonates with the audience out there. At the core of the film is family and those are things that translate with everyone.”

Another New Mexico-made film will also be heading to Cannes.

Imagination Worldwide has acquired “Burning Bohdi” for foreign rights. The company will be selling the rights at Cannes.

The feature-length film stars Kaley Cuoco, Sasha Pieterse, Cody Horn, Landon Liboiron, Virginia Madsen and Andy Buckley. Cuoco is known for her role as Penny in CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.”

The film was written and directed by University of New Mexico professor Matthew McDuffie. It was produced by Albuquerque resident Marshall Bear.

The film follows a group of lifelong friends who stumble back home after high school when word goes out on Facebook that the most popular among them has died.

The reunion stirs up sticky feelings of love, longing and regret, and the novelty of forgiveness, mortality and gratitude.

The film shot for 18 days in the South Valley in 2015.

Bear says he is looking forward to international distribution.

“I’m hoping Euro distributors are attracted to a character driven movie from Hollywood,” Bear says.

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