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Film and entertainment happenings from around The Land of Enchantment

ABQ couple’s family-friendly film in Taos Shortz Fest

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Jacob Tremblay stars as Sam, a 6-year-old orphan in the short film “The Magic Ferret.” (Courtesy of Tony Lee)

Jacob Tremblay stars as Sam, a 6-year-old orphan in the short film “The Magic Ferret.” (Courtesy of Tony Lee)

When Scott Merrow retired from the Air Force after 30 years he was ready to relax. But after taking a screenwriting class, Merrow and his wife Paula, found a new hobby. That was back in 2006.

Since then, the Albuquerque pair have written dozens of short films and had about 10 scripts made into films.

The duo’s latest is “The Magic Ferret,” which will be part of the Taos Shortz Film Fest. It takes place takes place from Thursday, March 20-March 23 in Taos.

The festival is dedicated to showcasing short films from around the globe. This year, it will be showing 111 shorts, representing 22 countries. The festival takes pride in featuring New Mexican and Native American filmmakers.

The Merrows wrote the story for “The Magic Ferret” a couple years ago for an online contest. Then they heard from Canadian filmmaker Alison Parker, who was looking for a family-friendly script.

“The Magic Ferret” is a story centering around a 6-year-old orphan named Sam, played by Jacob Tremblay, and his pet ferret, Booger.

Sam is as cute as a button, but he just can’t seem to find a family who wants him. When the newest prospective parents come to visit, Sam decides to impress them with a few magic tricks. He becomes “The Great Sambini” with Booger as his assistant. When his most amazing trick flops, Sam is deflated but not defeated, and with Booger’s help he conjures up a different kind of magic.

“It’s been a fun journey to see the film develop,” he says. “We were doing rewrites for Alison and stayed involved with the film the entire way through.”

Albuquerque residents Scott and Paula Merrow wrote the script to “The Magic Ferret.”

Albuquerque residents Scott and Paula Merrow wrote the script to “The Magic Ferret.”

The film also stars Beverley Elliott, known for her role as “Granny” on the ABC TV series “Once Upon A Time,” Canadian actor Fred Ewanuick from the TV shows “Corner Gas” and “Dan For Mayor” and Canadian actress Lisa Durupt, who is known for her role as Shandra on HBO Canada’s “Less Than Kind.”

The Merrows are no stranger to the Taos Shortz Film Fest. They have had three previous films screen there.

Merrow says the couple wrote its first script in 2006, which was called “Piece of Pie.” It went on to win the New Mexico Governor’s Cup prize and was directed by Janet Davidson.

“That script got us hooked,” Scott Merrow says. “Since then we’ve written 50 short scripts. It’s just a fun thing. This was something that continues to pique our interests.”

“The Magic Ferret” will screen during the “Family Friendly Shortz” block from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, March 22.

A scene from the horror-comedy film “I Heart U.” The film will be screened tonight at the South Broadway Cultural Center.

A scene from the horror-comedy film “I Heart U.” The film will be screened tonight at the South Broadway Cultural Center.

It’s romantic, sort of: The horror-comedy feature “I Heart U” will host a free screening and DVD release party at 7 tonight at the South Broadway Cultural Center, 1025 Broadway SE.

“I Heart U” introduces audiences to Walter and Liz, a quietly unhappy couple bored with domestic bliss. Frustrated by his go-getter wife, nerdy building inspection engineer Walter lets off steam by taking up his old hobby: serial killing. But it turns out he’s not the only slasher in town. Cast and crew will participate in a post-film Q&A sponsored by Film!ABQ. Go to facebook.com/iheartufilm for more details.

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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