Things you can't do in four minutes: drink a cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette, have sex or respond to a personal e-mail.
Things you can do in four minutes: drink a cup of cold coffee, smoke a cigarette butt, have sex or watch Teri Clark's entire film.
"A lot of people don't realize that the short film is an art form in and of itself," says Clark, who makes a living as a legal assistant. "Some filmmakers just dedicate their lives to making short films. That's the art form that they choose, just like painting or photography or writing."
Originally from Mexicali, Mexico, the San Diego resident had her first still photography camera when she was eight, as well as her own dark room. She was into art and writing, but it wasn't until a few years ago that she found a passion for film. She decided to forego the big filmmaking schools (NYU, Temple, UCLA) and enrolled in San Diego's affordable Southwestern Community College, where, she says, she would have more of an opportunity to actually make films, as opposed to simply studying them.
"I toyed with the idea of going to film school for a while," says Clark, "but then I thought, "You know, $100,000, I could make so many films with that.' And you really don't get to make a film in film school. I don't think there's another career in life where people don't really care whether or not you went to school for it. They just care about what you know and how talented you are."
The board for this year's 10th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival thought Clark's four minute film, Nocturnal Emissions Part III, showed requisite talent to showcase it at Madstone Theatre-the site of the largest event of its kind in the U.S.
The premise of the film? "Boy meets girl. Girl talks too much. Love sucks."
Though one of her two actors in Nocturnal makes a reference to oral sex, and Clark's next film is called Pussy Nation, she is a virgin. To film festivals, that is. Recently, she was awarded 400-ft. of film as part of a grant, and Nocturnal Emissions is the "teenage, early-20s phase of love" concept that she came up with.
"It's very exciting. It's my first film festival, my first film shot on film [as opposed to digital], in my home town, and a Latino film festival. It can't get better than that."
Clark has attended San Diego's Latino Film Festival-on and off-for years, and she's seen its progression. Whereas local interest used to be limited to a mostly Latino audience, other cities have recently begun to show a broader interest in Latino cinema, she says.
"San Diego has fallen behind San Francisco and L.A. and the other cities in terms of cultural diversity in the arts and it being accessible to people, and I don't understand why. I lived in San Francisco where I could go to the opera for five bucks. Here, I'm lucky if I get a $100 ticket. Why is that? How come San Diego doesn't make it's arts more accessible to everybody? I think it's up to people to start demanding it."
In Mexico, people have started demanding good film. Clark attributes the renaissance to three films-2000's Amores Perros, last year's Y Tu Mamá También and this year's El Picado del Padre Amaro.
"The Mexican cinema-[which] is being touted as the new Mexican cinema-is all cheesy crap. [Films like Amores Perros] have prompted new organizations in Mexico that give out money so that Mexican filmmakers can make good work such as Y Tu Mamá También. And the Mexican people have reacted. The significance of these films has been that now it has revived cinema in Mexico and there's actually good work being done again. It's getting better."
In terms of San Diego, Clark isn't convinced. But she does see opportunity for a more independent movement.
"I don't think it's ever going to be another Hollywood, but I do think it could be a good independent filmmaking city like Vancouver, for instance. There are different cities where independent filmmaking is really strong, but San Diego is not one of them right now, at least not according to all of the statistics." ©
Nocturnal Emissions Part III will show along with six other short films at Madstone Theatre at 3:30pm on March. 23. Festival details: 619-299-4500.
Una Casa Con Vista al MarVenezeula's official entry in 2002's Oscar competition is a poignant tale of a cowardly widower attempting to instill bravery in his only son. Shot in the mountainous highlands of Venezuela, the cinematography is breathtaking. Screenings: March 14 (7:30 pm), March 19 (5 pm), March 20 (5 pm) and March 23 (9:45 pm).
Cortos MexicanosA compilation of eight Mexican film shorts ranging in topics: a stolen statue of Virgen de Guadalupe, extravagant loneliness, sex in a bakery, three wishes for a woman with low self-esteem, screaming co-dependence, a troublesome flower pot, botched suicide attempts and finding oneself in a desert. Screenings: March 18 (10:15 pm), March 21 (4 pm) and March 23 (10:15 pm).
DomesticasFact: there are over 3 million maids in Brazil. In this feature-length film from the director of City of God, five feisty maids from Rio volley satirical thoughts on utopia, the perfect man, racial equality and government. Screenings: March 15 (9:45 pm) and March 23 (5 pm).
Mercano el MarcianoThe first Argentine animated feature in 20 years is big on dark, adult humor. After a space probe from Earth lands on his dog, Mercano the Martian takes off for revenge. But he crash lands in Buenos Aires and the ensuing mayhem involves the Internet, 3-D virtual reality and a multi-national corporation's plan to take over the world. Screenings: March 15 (10:15 pm), March 17 (5 pm), March 20 (10 pm), March 21 (10:15 pm and March 23 (10 pm).
Tiempo RealFilm techies simultaneously salivate: this 86-minute caper about a group of thieves robbing a warehouse has been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the first movie filmed entirely in one shot from one camera in one take. Screenings: March 18 (7 pm) and March 22 (10 pm).
Yo Soy del Son a la SalsaRemember Buena Vista Social Club? Cuban salsa master Oscar de Leon creates his own version, focusing on social, political and cultural implications of salsa music in Latin America. Screenings: March 15 (11 am), March 19 (10 pm) and March 22 (11 am).