Student film gains momentum at national and international festivals

Shotgun---Still-3-(Print)-FTWBy Allie Matherne

What started out as a Baylor film has now been seen on screen from Los Angeles to Cannes, France.

Baylor alumnus Maverick Moore directed the film as a graduate student alongside fellow graduate and undergraduate students from the Baylor theater and film departments. He spent almost a full year developing the project, which will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France this May.

“The film is about three rebellious girls who burn rubber and leave no survivors on an inexplicably wild ride that mixes French New-Wave pastiche with pulpy, post-modern stylization,” Moore said.

It was initially a project for entertainment and not necessarily intended to attract film festivals, Moore said.

The film premiered at Baylor Film and Digital Media’s Black Glasses Film Festival last year. It has since screened at 26 film festivals and won nine awards.

“It won best picture and audience award at Black Glasses, so I knew people liked it, and I literally submitted to as many festivals I could afford to,” Moore said.

The film will screen as part of the Cannes Film Festival’s “Short Film Corner.” This is set apart from the competing films in the festival, but is providing unprecedented opportunities for the film, Moore said.

“It’s not quite as glamorous [as the competition sector], but it is still Cannes,” Moore said.

Flower Mound senior Chynna Walker, who starred in the film, said though she had to memorize French – a language she is not familiar with – and do 37 takes for a five-minute scene, it was a completely worthwhile project.

“‘Shotgun’ was tiring, stressful and incredibly rewarding,” Walker said. “Maverick is a madman, but he made something that I will forever be proud of.”

The film department is elated by the success of the project, said Christopher Hansen, Film & Digital Media department head.

“We’re thrilled that Maverick has the chance to screen the film in Cannes. It’s an opportunity and honor all at the same time,” Hansen said. “It represents a real accomplishment for him and the program.”

The prestige of screening in Cannes has given the film more momentum in film circuits, Moore said.

“The best thing that’s come about is that other festivals have given us a second look, we’ve gotten to screen at four academy qualifying festivals,” Moore said.

A film must win an academy qualifying festival to be considered for an Oscar, Moore said.

The film was inspired by the playful approach of French New Wave films. Moore said he wanted to create something that broke the rules but remained self-aware and playful.

“The film is heavily inspired by Jean-Luc Godard, and we got to screen right before his new film,” Moore said. “So the inspired and the inspiration got to share a screen. If there’s ever an audience to understand the film, it’s that audience.”

Hansen said the film’s inspiration makes it appealing to film enthusiasts.

“I think that it’s an homage to French new wave films in the ’60s, so I think film enthusiasts really love it but it takes a really amusing approach and attitude,” Hansen said.

The success of the film was warranted but surprising, Hansen said.

“We knew that he had a really good film but I had no idea that it was going to take off on the festival circuit,” Hansen said.