#HotSec Fridays – web series American Nobodies episode Antonio by Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck

In honor of their very first feature Forty Years From Yesterday debuting at the LA Film Festival this week I want to share this particular mini-doc portrait made by the filmmakers Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck.  In distinct auteur meets D2F fashion, American Nobodies is an original web series in which they film and introduce us to “Average Americans Doing Extraordinary Things” then upload them online for free for everyone to see.  In little over a minute they manage to capture and highlight the startling souls of individuals as the camera unyieldingly gazes directly into their eyes, and follows them in their element.  We get to meet Don Antonio in this one, a weary, aging man who recounts his grueling 9 day trek across the US – Mexico border.  Even though it must be decades since the terrifying ordeal, we can tell the experience will forever and firmly remain embedded in his memory.  Meet Antonio and check out more extraordinary Americans here.

The boys from NoCal have a considerable body of work in multi-media short forms that defies and blurs through genres, demonstrating a love and anthropological eye in its dreamy realist cinema.  It’s always awesome to see short filmmakers take their craft into the feature form, especially ones with such original voices and aesthetic. The world premiere of Forty Years from Yesterday is this Sunday at 7:30pm.  Get tickets here.

#HotSec Fridays – UNDERSTUDY a short film by Cristina Malavenda

Now here’s a fun sexy dance film to get the three day weekend party started. Jeanine Mason (winner of Season 5, So you Think You can Dance) stars in this 20 min short as a dance performer and understudy to the lead on an upcoming dance show at the Pantages. A friend videotapes her giddy excitement going through rehearsals leading up to the big show. Although nervous, her talent is unmistakeable as we watch her shimmy and twist through the choreography in a cool dance sequence shot on Melrose. But when a distraction threatens her focus, and then the scenario every understudy dreams and dreads appears, will she be ready to ‘Step Up’?

This was Cristina’s thesis short film at USC. I love how buoyant this feels. A loose, fluid camera follows the sizzling choreography, and Jeanine Mason is totally engaging as Clara.  Cristina was convinced that Jeanine was the only actor for the role so after a few failed attempts of making contact, her mentor sent the script to Mason’s manager.  She agreed to the project just one week before rehearsals.  Cristina says, ‘I think what she liked about the project was her opportunity to both dance and act.”  Since the short, Mason went on to land a recurring guest star turn in the ABC Family ballet comedy-drama series, Bunheads, and has a number of film and TV projects in the works.  Something tells me we will be seeing a lot more of her talent and dance skills.

Cristina writes, directs and edits fiction, non-fiction, animation and motion graphic films.  As an editor, Cristina’s work includes Woman Rebel (Oscar Shortlist 2010, HBO), Thunder Chance (Student Emmy Awards 2010, Comic-Con 2010), and Our Neck of the Woods (Sundance 2009). As a director, Cristina’s influential documentary film, No Kill in 2009 won Best Short Documentary and People’s Choice Awards at various festivals around the country, and aired on the KCET Fine Cut Series in May 2010.  She is currently working on three scripts. One is a feature length science fiction horror film. The second puts a spin on reality content, and the third is a mockumentary for television. She works full time at SpiritClips from Hallmark, an instant streaming company that generates short content.  Website: www.spiritclips.com

Check out her website to see her reels and get her contact info.