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NMSU student’s short film headed to Cannes Film Festival

A “Good Night” is turning into a great opportunity for a group of New Mexico State University students. The short film written and directed by NMSU philosophy student Brandon T. Gass and starring NMSU students has been accepted into the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner/Cannes Court Métrage.


Two girls sitting on a wall near a pond
New Mexico State University student actors Jessica Jimenez and Danielle Castorena in a scene from "Good Night," a short film written and directed by Brandon T. Gass, a philosophy student. The film was accepted in the Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner. (Courtesy photo)

The students will be attending the Cannes Film Festival, among the most prestigious in the world, May 8-19.

This weekend some of Gass’ other films will be shown at the Fountain Theatre in Las Cruces. At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14: “Idyll Nights,” a 45-minute film, and two shorter films “Waiting for a Train” and “Stale Cherry” will be screened. Gass and the other actors will be on hand for the showing. There’s a suggested $5 donation, which will go toward travel expenses for their trip.

The film “Good Night” features NMSU theatre majors Jessica Jimenez as the lead actress and Daniela Castorena as her friend. It runs just over six minutes.

“It’s about friendship on the brink of transition,” said Gass, who has made six short films, two documentaries and nine or 10 music videos. “It follows two friends who spend the night together before one of them has to leave the next morning for unknown reasons. It was meant to be a picture of what it is to know a close relationship will end soon.”

Two other NMSU theatre students will be attending the festival with Gass and Jimenez. Taylor Rodriguez and Nick Check have both appeared as actors in other Gass films.

Jimenez, who will graduate in May 2019, was stunned when she heard the news about the film being accepted at Cannes and going to France for the festival. “It’s still unbelievable,” she said. “I was born and raised in Dona Ana. I just never thought this would happen to me. Farthest I’ve ever gone is New York. This is the chance of a lifetime.”

The film festival not only provides recognition for their work, but also the promise of professional contacts for their future careers. “The Cannes Festival is one of the most prestigious in the world,” Gass said. “If you want a career in film it’s one of the best places you can go. The potential is nearly unlimited.”

Rodriguez and Check are also excited about the prospects of meeting industry professionals. While Check is a freshman, Rodriguez will be graduating in December and is getting ready to make the most of the trip. “The three pillars on which an acting career is built are hard work, talent and networking. This is huge networking opportunity,” said Rodriguez.

“Just getting to go out of the country is exciting,” Check said. “It’s such a great opportunity to network with people and meet people in the business who have done it.”

Gass, who will graduate in May 2019, not only wrote and directed the film, but also served as producer, cinematographer and editor. Gass says the film cost very little to produce other than the price of gas as they drove to various locations around Las Cruces.

Watch scenes from the film and the students talking about their trip to the Cannes Film Festival at https://youtu.be/gKP_Jwkurfc .

After the festival, the group will travel to Ireland for a week. Gass plans to shoot films in both France and Ireland with the student actors. But the team is raising money now to pay their travel costs. The students have set up a gofundme account to help them at https://www.gofundme.com/cannes-film-festival-fund