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Double exposure: LA festival will screen two movies by Albuquerque filmmaker Christina Gopal

From left, Lily Joy Winder, Isabela Rudolfo, Julian Gopal and Maddie Arsenault star in the short film “The Awakeover,” which will have its world premiere at the Dances With Films Film Festival in Los Angeles. (Courtesy of Christina Gopal)

Ideas circle around until they’re ready.

Years may pass, yet Christina Gopal never gives up.

This is why Gopal will have two films screened at the Dances With Films Film Festival this year.

The festival, formed in 1998, has become a heavy hitter in the film industry. The festival will run virtually from Friday, Aug. 28, through Sept. 6, at dwfla.com. “The Awakeover” will screen at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.

Gopal says the 12-minute film started out during a class at Sol Acting Academy about five years ago.

“The kids were tasked with coming up with a short film,” Gopal says. “They all did their skits, and two of them were scary ones.”

The students showcased the work for families when the class was over.

Gopal – a local Hispanic filmmaker – always wanted to finish the short film.

“When we filmed it, the production was very guerrilla and led by students,” she says. “I got together with other filmmakers, and we came up with a better idea to pull the story together.”

“The Awakeover” has multiple stories within one big story.

She likens it to the film “Creepshow” but says it’s a family-friendly movie.

Alex Gopal and Darian Erp in a scene from the short film “The Awakeover.” (Courtesy of Christina Gopal)

“All of the ideas are from the kids,” she says. “They wrote it themselves. The camera work was all done by them, as well. It was a class that covered a lot. There’s one camping scene, which was done in my backyard.”

The children in the film are now grown up, Gopal says.

“One of them is in the Navy,” she says. “My sons are teenagers. My youngest son was only 9 during the class. I’m just so glad they will get the recognition for their work now.”

The short film will be screened as part of the Dances With Kidz! – a sidebar festival that was started a few years ago that celebrates films made for kids and films made my kids.

“This is our biggest festival,” she says. “We’re one of six films that got in from around the world.”

The other film that Gopal is involved in that will screen at the festival is “Millennium Bugs.”

Christina Gopal

It was directed by Albuquerque filmmaker Alejandro Montoya Marín and filmed around the city. Gopal acts in it and is an executive producer.

“Millennium Bugs” is a dramedy set in the 1990s that deals with family issues, alcoholism and the potential end of the world – Y2K.

It stars Katy Erin, Michael Lovato, Micah McNeil, Rogelio T. Ramos, Romy Peniche, Chad Brummett, Melyssa Zurasky and Tamas Nadas.

“Millennium Bugs” will screen at 7 p.m. Sept. 2 and 5:30 p.m. Sept. 4.

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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