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Student science fiction film wins MovieFest

Two students demonstrated their passion for film and cinematography by producing and directing a short film titled “Breakout,” which won best picture Monday at the ASU Campus MovieFest.

The movie festival was held at the MADCAP Theaters in downtown Tempe and featured 58 films.

“Breakout” director Jonathan Millard and producer Chancellor Lastra collaborated with a full cast in order to create the five-minute film.

The movie is a science fiction drama about a soldier who fights to rescue his girlfriend from an enemy prison base in the midst of a nuclear war.

“I’ve always been passionate about science fiction works so the idea of the film was something that I organized through my own visions,” said Millard, a film senior.

The most important aspect of the filming process is figuring out how to reflect a desired message to the audience in the most effective way, he said.

State Press Television By Nick Prete

“As the director, I wanted the audience to know what I was thinking when I envisioned the production, ‘Breakout,’” Millard said.

The film that won Best Picture at the movie festival Monday was part of a longer, feature-length script that Millard had been developing over the course of four years, he said.

The script for the short film “Breakout” was composed of a few action scenes equal to roughly 3 to 5 pages of the feature-length script, Lastra said.

Millard said having an idea already developed prior to the festival allowed them to cut down the writing process.

The parameters for the film festival competition allowed only a week for casting, filming and editing, so there was a great need for organization and management in order to make a typically long process less tiring, Lastra said.

As challenging as the process is to produce an award-winning production, it is important to not get too overwhelmed, Lastra said.

“I tried to make things as easy as possible for Jon,” Lastra said. “He provides the visual aspect or the vision for the film, which is essential.”

Another important component of the filming process involves making sure personalities of the crew and cast are managed in order to promote cooperation and professionalism, Lastra said.

“At the end of a day of filming, when we were all just dead, that actually was when we got the best performance out of them,” Lastra said. “Everyone played a role and helped out in producing the film.”

The casting process produced dynamic people who were highly qualified for the roles, said Austin Blindheim, the film’s casting director.

“I was astonished to see how good these people were,” Blindheim said. “We got to see so much Arizona talent.”

Cord Skvarek, 19, who starred as the film’s main character said his love for being on stage and being in front of the camera drive his career path as well as a high regard for social influences.

“You don’t know why people wake up and go to their jobs, but it’s just in you,” Skvarek said. “I transfer my passion into creating and delivering a message that is more meaningful for others.”

Krystal Downie, 28, who starred as Anna, the film’s female lead, said her passion for acting and performing derived from seeing her grandmother perform as a theater actress in Washington, D.C.

“I wanted to be an actress since I was 4 years old,” Downie said. “My grandmother pursued her dream of acting after she retired … and when I saw her on television, that was it for me.”

Downie said knowing that someone could pursue a grand aspiration at such an age gives her more drive to keep pushing.

The biggest misconception that amateur filmmakers have coming into the process is the amount of tools needed to put on a production, Lastra said.

“Breakout” cost less than $200 to produce, he said.

Currently, some studio executives and investors are interested in the script for “Breakout,” Lastra said, adding that the short film has great potential to become a full-length feature film.

“Don’t be surprised if you see us in Hollywood sometime in the future,” Blindheim said.

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