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‘Shooting Stars’ event honors budding NM filmmakers

SANTA FE, N.M. — Cut! Cut! Cut! And that wasn’t a movie shoot!

It’s the curriculum in New Mexico schools, and who can understand it?

Art went!

Music went!

PE went!

Now I’ve learned that History has faded into history.

Two feisty ladies are doing something about that. Jocelyn Jansons and Carrie McCarthy started a playwriting contest with a historical context in conjunction with the New Mexico Governor’s Mansion Foundation and the New Mexico Film Foundation for “New Mexico Girls Make Movies.” The Big Prize: the winner’s play will actually be produced by the Film Foundation, with the winning author directing it, receiving assistance and encouragement from industry professionals.

The response should tell educators that youth are indeed quite interested in history! A total of 110 kids between the ages of 12 and 25 wrote scripts at least 10 pages long, and there were 20 finalists competing for the top three cash prizes. In their honor, the two foundations joined together to give a beautiful catered reception and performance of live readings at the Governor’s Mansion, entitled “Shooting Stars.”

The event featured readings of scripts performed by professional actors and the finalist authors, including the winner, Sara Casaus. She is a senior at the University of New Mexico, and her script will now be produced with a professional film crew and actors as she directs!

About 150 spellbound folks attended the sold-out event in a large tent on the lawn at the mansion, on a beautiful summer evening, and raised around $9,000. Some of these funds will be used for educational programs and some for financial assistance to support the independent film industry.

They say there are few opportunities for filmmakers in New Mexico other than peripheral support positions and roles as extras in the backgrounds of movies, all takers hoping for the chance to meet someone with connections – maybe a producer or director for a writer to take his script to, maybe a casting director who will spot a face in the crowd and say, “Oh wow! There’s our next star!” Networking. Who you know … . The big jobs get decided in Hollywood, hence the Film Foundation is a wonderful support group and networking vehicle for those in the film industry here.

So happy to see the Governor’s Mansion and the film industry are pals again! That’s good for everyone!

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