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Interview with Filmmaking Faculty member Rick Shepherdson and film student Santiago Chacon about the upcoming 2022 ENMU Fear Fest

STEFFENS: Welcome to Great Arts at Eastern. I’m David Steffens, Dean of the College of Fine Arts. I'm joined today by Filmmaking Faculty member Rick Shepherdson and film student Santiago Chacon, and we will preview an upcoming event called Fear Fest. Fear Fest will be held on Saturday, October 29, at 7:00 PM in the University Theater Center Auditorium. The event is open to the public. It's free of charge, and no tickets are required for entry. So, if you're interested, on October 29, 7 PM, in the University Theater Center, we will host Fear Fest. And Rick, can you describe the event and tell us what we should anticipate at Fear Fest?

SHEPHERDSON: Yeah, so Fear Fest was a long-respected tradition at the ENMU Theater and Digital Filmmaking Department. But this is our first Fear Fest in like 2 years because COVID knocked it out of Commission, and probably closer to three years now. And basically, what the students do is they go out and write and direct their own short films. And then we screen them, and we have a panel of judges. And, you know, we give awards for like The Grossest, The Scariest. Things like that. And there may even be students delivering monologues and things like that and people dressed up. So, it’s a lot of fun.

STEFFENS: Great. And about how many films will you present and how long is each one of these five to 10-minute films or pretty short form?

SHEPHERDSON: Yeah, they're pretty short. You know. They're probably not going to be much over 5 minutes. And it's a little hard to say this year since we're kind of bringing it back, but this year will be special because not only are we showing the current films, but out of competition. We’ll show some of the greatest hits, and we’re also going to have the first screening of a former student’s film, Jackson Cooperman. I almost said Jackson Pollock, but he never went here. He actually finished his film in the midst of it. When everything went online, and he's actually found some festival success, it's called Rec Logs. And so that one is definitely. Most of the movies should be PG-13, but that’s heading a little bit more into R territory. So that will be the final thing that we screen.

STEFFENS: So, you recommend that parents are a little cautious about young children, is that right?

SHEPHERDSON: Yeah, exactly. And I, you know, I say 13, but you know your kids better than I do, or at least I hope you do. So use your discretion in who you bring.


SHEPHERDSON: Maybe the kids should be distressed. Against bringing their parents, who knows, like-

STEFFENS: So, the students are writing these films, and they're also directing them, and is that? Is that a normal way to learn filmmaking in college, or you'd have all these roles, and you kind of master each one?

SHEPHERDSON: Yeah. Well, you know. That's pretty much the best way because in our individual classes. Like in, I teach a cinematography class, Advanced Lighting. You learn the craft of Lighting and some composition. But this is the chance outside of class where the students to really. Pull it together, you know, pull it together. It sounds negative or something to bring It all together and see how it goes. And that's actually. Exactly. So, Santiago next semester will be shooting his, who we brought along with us. He'll be shooting his first junior film. And he actually wanted to use this for practice for that larger piece, which I think is a really good idea because he is making a movie. It's kind of like riding a bicycle but on the planet Mars and in the middle of an asteroid shower. In the middle of an asteroid shower, so it’s a pretty hectic environment, even if it’s a small movie.

STEFFENS: So, Santiago, you have a film that you wrote. Is that right that you're gonna present?

CHACON: Yeah. This was a film that I wrote a while ago called Polaroid, and over these last few weeks, I was finally able to work on it. It's basically about this girl who gets this Polaroid camera and starts taking pictures on it and seeing if and starts seeing a figure in some of the pictures that isn't there in real life. And she's trying to figure out what's happening.

STEFFENS: So, it doesn’t sound like it’s really a horror Halloween. It sounds a little more mysterious. Is that?

CHACON: Yeah, a little bit more like, yeah, more mysterious than anything else. I will say that like the biggest influence on it is Maya Darren and her films. I especially like the idea of the figure just appearing and kind of a surreal quality of not sure what’s going on.

STEFFENS: Great. Looking forward to seeing your film. So again, the Fear Fest will be held Saturday, October 29, at 7:00 PM at the University Theater Center. And we hope to see you there.


Saturday, October 29th at 7PM

University Theater Center, Auditorium

Free Admission

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  • Join ENMU College of Fine Arts Dr. David Steffens each week on "Great Arts at Eastern," as he interviews artists, actors, entertainers and musicians about their craft and events they produce at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. "Great Arts at Eastern" airs once a week about 12:35 p.m. MT on Thursdays on KENW–FM.This program also is available online by clicking the title of an individual episode listed below.