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‘Action’ to screen in 48 hours

It’s unlikely Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino got their starts in the film industry this way, being told they’ve got 48 hours to complete a movie.

Of course, their films run a lot longer than the four to seven minutes allotted longtime Rio Rancho resident Joseph Bovenzi, who headed a film team from the City of Vision in the 48 Hour Film Project, the world’s largest timed filmmaking competition.

The 48 hours of the Albuquerque competition began Friday evening and ended Sunday.

Bovenzi, a 1982 graduate of Cibola High School, plus a bunch of his buddies— many also graduating from CHS well before Rio Rancho High School was built — were on his team.


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On Friday evening, the team received its handful of requirements for the film, for which only the cast, crew and location had been pre-planned.

“They throw all this at us; we have no clue,” Bovenzi said before learning his team — and the 55 other Duke City entrants — had to get a map, a character named Rosalie or Roman Rodriguez with the nickname “Tightwad,” and a line, “Oh, you are so smart,” into the storyline.

Gathering at the home of Michael Shapiro on Second Street, they sat around with William Bolt, writing a script for the genre they selected: Horror.

They decided to set the plot around some girls who come across a treasure map and drive out to New Mexico to try to find the treasure. By movie’s end, several of them have been killed.

According to a trailer on Bovenzi’s website (, the film is titled, “Not your typical slasher flick.” It goes on about, “a simple night drive… turns into a day of horror.”

The Bovenzi group then headed west of the city limits, just a few miles past water well 13 and a half-mile or so south of Northern Boulevard, to their predetermined location.

Filming soon began, interrupted by a brief downpour after midnight.

“We shot till 4:30 a.m.,” Bovenzi said, and although he anticipated filming — “B roll” and other stuff they might need — would be completed by 1 or 2 Saturday afternoon, the crew wrapped up before noon.


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Then, it was back to “base camp,” Shapiro’s home, where editor Jordee Arvin began putting it all together in logical sequence, with Bovenzi and assistant director Christian Aguirre, who’s worked with Bovenzi on numerous projects in the past, never far away.

Another person, Bovenzi said, was coming over later to compose original music as he watched the film.

Bovenzi pegged the cost of the production, including gas, food and miscellaneous items, at $500. The entry fee was $140.

Obviously, it’s quite a production, even though the film’s only 4-7 minutes long. And the aforementioned Spielberg and Tarantino probably encountered some of what Bovenzi, sleepless for the better part of two days, endured: “People with a lot of personalities on the set, (and) always someone creating problems.

“You like to have the good soldiers,” he added. “Managing people? There’s 27 in the team; we had 36, but some didn’t show up and so others got the roles. … All in all, it’s a gigantic team effort. Everyone enjoys watching himself in the movie. I’m feeling real good and confident.”

Shapiro, the “creepy guy” in the film and an early suspect in the slayings, is a top-notch car builder who’s been on the silver screen before. The 1980 Cibola High graduate has played a cop in “Breaking Bad,” “Crash 2” and “New Methico,” a short film based on a book (“An American Doper”) by Bovenzi, as well as a detective in “Tiger Eyes.”

“I’ve done live theater here, too,” he said, happy with his resume and chuckling about his role as the creepy guy.

And he’s also the subject of the catch phrase, “It’s that guy,” used in the film.

Bovenzi, however, wouldn’t reveal too much more of the plot.

Truth be told, although his expertise on sets is in rigging and electrical, “I’m a novelist,” he said. “I like to write books best.”