By April M. Brown
The 48-hour Film Project is an annual event where teams of filmmakers compete for best short film and a chance for their film to screen at Cannes Film Festival, Court Métrage. The winning films in each of the 150 competing cities across the nation go on to Filmapalooza, where the final 15 films are chosen for their special place at Cannes. This year, one of those coveted spots will be held by the winning short film from the 2016 Albuquerque competition, Secondhand Sunset.
Watching the film, it’s difficult to believe that something so polished and professional could have been created in a mere 48-hours. It’s a beautiful, heart-wrenching tale of a young farm girl who wants to pursue her dreams despite her father’s emotional objections. The story is told against a scenic rural backdrop in Bosque Farms.
Lead actress, Sarah Minnich, says they wanted to choose a story that was “special and close to the heart.” The story was written and directed by Andy Kastelic, who Sarah describes as having an incredible gift for telling stories. The script was written overnight on the first day of the project, and everyone was on set by 10 am the next morning for filming. With little time to spare, they filmed the movie in scorching, dusty conditions, running out of water several times.
Sarah says that they were still editing the film five minutes before the deadline, while team member and Gaffer on the film, Paul Broadhead, waited outside on his motorcycle to race the film to the finish line. In the true spirit of this cyclonic event, the team submitted their film with only 13 seconds to spare.
The team went on to take the prize for Best Film, Audience Award, Best Cinematography, Best Directing, and Best Actress for Sarah Minnich, as well as securing their place on the short list for Cannes Film Festival, Court Métrage at Filmapalooza last fall.
Sarah attributes the film’s success to a team of “amazing humans” that made it all work, despite the obstacles and challenges they faced during the competition. She also believes that part of their success may have also come from her confidence in the project from the very start. When she first created their social media pages for the film last April, she used the Cannes Film Festival symbol as her cover photo as a way to manifest the outcome.
The team is very excited to give New Mexico Film a presence at Cannes this May, with Sarah adding: “The film industry is finally starting to realize that New Mexico is a place full of outstanding talent, professional and hard-working crew, and a variety of stunning filming locations. People are beginning to see that New Mexico filmmakers ARE booking leads in pilots, ARE making quality competitive projects that can compete in the larger world-wide competitions, and ARE being considered for more and larger opportunities; this is just the beginning!”
Cannes Film Festival begins May 17.
The film can be viewed here.