Last Saturday the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico’s Southwest Film Center presented the 2018 Cherry Reel Film Festival.

Each film was a student production, giving a platform for a variety of different genres and plot matters, making the festival a showcase of various talents.

LeAnna Walters, a freshman volunteer said that she thinks that the event is a good way for people at UNM who are interested in film to come together for one night and just celebrate artwork and lift each other up.

“It’s just really fun to watch people enjoy everyone else’s work so much,” Walters said.

Out of all of the films showcased, there were favorites shared amongst the audience as well as the staff.Walters said that “The Unknown Outlaw,” produced by Cole Brewer, had to have been her favorite film out of the festival, also giving an honorable mention to “Park Cop Saves the Day,” produced by Aaron Hime.

“Just the production value in that and the camera work was amazing for a student work, it was really amazing to see that come from someone in our own community here,” Walters said.

The festival handed out different awards for the films, in specific categories, the winner for best long length film was “Eva.”

Matthew McDonald, one of the directors of the film said that “Eva” is a space exploration adventure sci-fi action movie. The film features two characters looking for a map to a treasure, while on their expedition they find out they are being hunted by a bounty hunter.

Student Annette Velasco, said that the sci-fi film, “Eva” had some of the best graphics in the festival.

“Watching (“Eva”) felt like you were watching a Star Wars film, like a big production company made it when it was producers in our own community that made it so I just thought that it was mind blowing how they were able to do that,” Velasco said.

Estevan Carrion, another director of “Eva” said that they film was created during the entire spring 2018 semester, in which they took to the gypsum sand dunes of White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico to shoot the film.

“We treated it like it was an independent film,” said William McCausland, the main director of the film. “There were a lot of sleepless nights.”

The nights other winners included audience choice going to “Park Cop Saves the Day” by Aaron Hime, short film winner going to “Uncle Rob” by Andy Bui and overall best film going to “The Unknown Outlaw” by Cole Brewer.

Many of the films shown were done in classes on campus, while others are done independently. Though each film was put together and directed by the students at UNM. While the directors and the production teams of each film are going through production, their responsibilities of being a college student does not letup.

“It’s hard to do that while you are balancing all of your other classes and there are a lot of people who are working as well with part time and even full time jobs,” Carrion said. ”It was really tough, but we somehow did it.”

With college life being a main focus there was hang ups, but to get the films done the directors came up with what they could to complete their films.McCausland said that the weekend before the crew’s trip to White Sands the actors they casted in the film all dropped out, thus allowing the directors to experiment as actors in their own film.

“We definitely tried to get as many people as possible so we didn’t have to be on film ourselves, but we just couldn’t get those people,” Carrion said. “When it comes down to it we can either stay behind the camera and rewrite the scene or just go for it in front of the camera to get the shot.”

Shayla Cunico contributed reporting for this story.

Tiffani Watteyne is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted by email at or on Twitter @tiffanirosew.