NMSU short film inspired by playwright Medoff

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LAS CRUCES, NM (KRQE) — A short film written, directed and produced by an NMSU professor is garnering international attention. Dark comedy, exploring death and isolation during the pandemic, sheds light.

“It was really fascinating and liberating to be able to create during this difficult time. So out of that pain came something – which I’m really, really proud of – which is the short film, FOWL,” said Ross Marks, filmmaker and professor at NMSU.

Marks wrote, directed and produced the film. He was inspired to create the short after helping his late mentor and fellow filmmaker, Mark Medoff, through hospice in 2019.

“I saw two different sides of Mark as he went through this. One was a little angry and resentful that life was ending. The other part was very peaceful and almost angelic and accepted what was happening,” Marks said. “I combined that COVID experience with what I went through with Mark and it became about two characters at the end of their lives in a hospice, isolated and alone, without family, without friends”,

With COVID-19 protocols and about a quarter of the crew it normally would have, which included eight NMSU students, the film was wrapped last February.

“The big motivation for me to do this is to give my students, you know, real-world gaming experience…all 8 students now have award-winning credit on their resumes, which now gives them a head start on employment in the industry,” says Marc.

The film was shown at 12 film festivals, including one in Berlin. So far it has won the “Best Short Film” award at four of these festivals. The process of the film and the product itself would make his muse, Mark, proud.

“He always told me that when you make a movie, if a person is positively affected by it, if a person responds to it, then you’re a success,” Marks said. “I think Mark would be really proud that it’s been a rewarding process for me personally. I got a lot out of the film. Now others are responding positively as well.

The film will premiere at the Santa Fe Film Festival next month and then at the Las Cruces International Film Festival in March.

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