ENMU Student Film Garners Unexpected Award

ENMU Student Film Garners Unexpected Award


Retired ENMU employee Don Criss won an award in a student film. Read about it in the 9.30.16 Greyhound Gazette. #ENMU #ENMUNews

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"Crackers and Mr. B" was created in 2015 and surprised director and ENMU film program graduate Nick Flemens when it made it to the inaugural Student Filmmaker showcase and garnered lead actor Don Criss an award for best male actor.

"When we were making this, we actually had about three or four other films that we were making, and when we were making those other ones, you know, sacrifices with time had to be made, so we kind of wound up cutting corners with this one a little bit just to make sure that the others were good too," he said.

Criss (a production and community services consultant at KENW TV), who played an elderly man that loses touch with society and befriends a chicken, gave all credit to the student crew.

"When I did it, I was just doing it. I just kind of thought I was helping them with their class. As far as I'm concerned, the ones who deserved the honor were the students who worked on the project," he said.

Flemens, however, redirected the credit back to his lead actor.

"I wasn't expecting anything to come out of this one, but I was really surprised when Don won, and I really owe it all to him," he said.

According to Criss, film programs like the one that produced "Crackers and Mr. B" help bring attention to New Mexico's film industry and to train students who are interested in pursuing film careers.

"It's great that the schools have a chance to teach this because it is an art. These kids are learning teamwork, they're learning responsibility, they're learning jobs. The reason I helped is I believe that we should help the film industry and do what we can to keep it going here," Criss said.

Being a filmmaker that graduated from ENMU feels like a large responsibility, Flemens said, because "if someone watches one of my films, and if they don't like it and mine's the only one from our entire school that they see, then I feel like they might judge the entire school based on one ten minute film."

Conversely, Flemens speculated that if people enjoyed the film, it could "maybe push Eastern a little bit further and kind of get names out there."

Events like the showcase are helpful to Flemens, he said, because it allows him to compare his work to that of other student filmmakers across New Mexico, while simultaneously building connections.

"It helps to see where I kind of fall among people around the state; I get to see other people's work," Flemens said. "It really helps to go to one of these things and talk to other people about the movie. Everyone is pretty much really passionate about their work and it's really cool to make contacts with people and get together."

According to a Greyhound Gazette article, the New Mexico Film Foundation created the showcase, working with faculty from ENMU, San Juan College, Santa Fe Community College and students from Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Each university was asked to submit up to three student videos no longer than 15 minutes each. The screenings were then held in Albuquerque and Santa Fe Sep. 22, 24 and 26 and judged by a panel that included University of Southern California Film School Dean Elizabeth Daley and director Christopher Coppola.

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