On Saturday, April 23, PRCC’s Digital Media Coordinator/Museum Director and film production instructor Ronn Hague welcomed participants and guests to an evening of independent short films as he kicked off the first annual Pearl River Community College Independent Short Film Expo. The event, held at PRCC’s Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts, featured eight short films. Seven of those films had roots in the south Mississippi/Louisiana area.
Two of the films were led by female filmmakers. “Scylla,” a horror film by Irene Gracie of Teaghleagh Films, screened in the first half of the program. Jessy Hughes’ “Sam” aired in the second portion, with its supernatural suspense overtones.
Hague and the film production department headed two, both featuring children dealing with un-childlike problems. “The Hole” dealt with a turnabout situation between a bully and his victim and opened the first half. “Hard Choice” portrayed three young people discussing a difficult problem dealing with potential terrorism and the ramifications of various courses of action.
“Almost Mine” by PRCC film school alumnus and award-winning filmmaker Frank Ladner shared a post-apocalypse love story set in a hardscrabble world. The short aired third in the first half of the program.
Rounding out the first half, “Road to State” followed a Louisiana high school soccer team as they defended their state championship in 2015. Brooks McMahon created the sports documentary, which shared the story of the St. Paul’s High School Wolves in pursuit of a second title.
A half-hour break allowed guests to meet and talk with the people involved in the movies shown in the first half of the program.
The second half opened with Neil Brimelow’s “Mr. Dr. Pepper Sniffer,” a comedic look at a feisty young girl behind the counter of a small diner.
“Hard Choice” followed and Jessy Hughe’s “Sam” led to the biggest event of the evening.
For only the second cinematic airing in the United States, “Black Angel” by two-time Academy Award winner Roger Christian showed on the big screen of the Brownstone center. The movie opened for “Star Wars Episode Five: The Empire Strike Back” in Australia and Europe during the film’s initial release. Lost for decades, the negative was found and restored. Hague negotiated for the opportunity to screen the film as part of the Expo.
A second meet and greet capped the evening, as a community college and Hollywood South offered the world a sample of what a filmmaking class can spark.
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