City College student filmmakers take first at festival

Cecile Binmoeller

Saturday night at Victoria Hall two SBCC student filmmakers won first place in a student filmmaker’s competition called 10/10/10 that was part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
“Brandon directs the actors more. I directed the camera more. And then we both edit together,” said Mark Legaspi, one of the winning students. He is a student filmmaker at SBCC and has worked for the past 10 days with Brandon Fink, also a student filmmaker at City College, completing an extraordinarily visual film based on a moving children’s storybook. “Its when things are overwhelming and challenging that they are always more fun,” said Legaspi. The two had 10 days to make a 10-minute movie, competing with 10 other film students as a part of the film festival’s digital competition called “10/10/10”.
More than 100 students submitted films to the festival. “It is a huge honor for a student to get into the final round,” said Mike Stinson, assistant professor of film studies. A panel of judges cut the list down to 10 using five different criteria including storytelling ability, direction, action, editing, and production value. The chosen 10 then had 10 days to make a 10-minute version of their film. The winner of the “10/10/10” was selected by a panel of industry judges, including Richard Harris, editor of “Titanic”, and Jeff Arts, who wrote “Sleepless in Seattle”.
For the last two years City College students have made up three of the 10 finalists but had yet to win the competition. This year only Legaspi and Finks’s five-minute movie made it to the final round. “It was about a man that goes fishing in a really round about way and I am really happy with what Brandon and I did,” said Legaspi. Right after winning entry into the competition Legaspi and Fink started working on their new short story for the competition basing it on a children’s story called “The Short Happy Life of Francis Mc Comber” by Earnest Hemmingway.
“It’s a cowboy movie. It’s a western about a guy that has a short, happy existence and then looses it because he gets careless,” said Legaspi. The challenge for Legaspi was to make the 10-minute short movie, in only 10 days while balancing the demands of school and his other activities.
Legaspi is also the base player of The Kissing Tigers who were on tour during the 10 day timeframe he had to make the film. This made the filming and editing process harrowing. Legaspi describes his chaotic week, “started on Tuesday, pre-production till Thursday, main shoots on Thursday and Friday, Friday night show in LA, Saturday morning drove to San Diego for film shoot, played in San Diego that night, recorded the narration Sunday morning in San Diego, Sunday night we played a show in Ventura, Monday we edited, Tuesday had a big shoot. And then finally started editing on Wednesday”. Fink’s and Legaspi’s goal was to make the movie feel like a moving children’s picture book.
“Pictures are narrated,” said Legaspi, “it’s kind off cheesy, but we both want it to be seen as a picture book.” With only a two hundred dollar budget and little time, Legaspi and Fink needed to divide the job of director between the two of them. Legaspi said his response to the experience shows his talent and passion for both music and film. “It was nice to have the shows because it was a break from filming,” said Legaspi. “I have fun doing both.”