Long Island City, NY—When his short film was selected “best film” at the Campus Movie Fest at Hunter College, Girard Tecson, a ’07 LaGuardia Community College graduate, knew that this would not be the film’s last screening. Packaged with the top award was an invitation to show the film at the 2014 Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.
“It was quite a thrill to take the top prize at the festival,” said Girard, a media studies major at Hunter College, who produced, directed and edited the film. “But to know that the film will be screened at Cannes is a dream come true.”
“This Moment,” which also won best actor award, best soundtrack and was nominated for best comedy at the Hunter festival, was among some 100 films submitted in the nationwide festival. The Campus Movie Fest, the world’s largest student film festival, has a partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, and presents the top 30 short films in the festival’s Short Film Corner.
The five-minute film is Girard’s take on “Groundhog Day,” the 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray. In the original film, Mr. Murray plays an arrogant TV meteorologist who, during a dreaded assignment to cover Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, finds himself repeating the same day over and over. As he relives February 2, he is forced to reexamine his life. In “This Moment,” the protagonist, Rick, believes he must defeat an enemy to end the endless loop.
“The plot is a little complicated,” said Girard who noted that he went through countless rewrites.
Girard said his interest in filmmaking was sparked after viewing a “terrible” indie film. He and his friends thought that they could produce a better movie and so they launched their own production company, Dayside Productions, bought a camera and started producing several ninja and gangster videos.
At LaGuardia, he took several film production classes and produced a number of short films that were well received at the College’s film festival.
When he transferred to Hunter, he continued to refine his craft and produced a number of short films that captured attention. In 2009, “Good Man,” was chosen to be viewed at Lincoln Center at the Campus Movie Fest event; and “Dave and Leo” (2010), “Taking Julia” (2010) and “For the Win” (2011) were among the top films at the campus festivals. But, 2012 proved to be a breakout year when “Romance of the Dead,” a sweet love story about two young zombies, took “Best Comedy,” “Best Actor” and “Best Actress” at the festival.
It was at that festival that Girard learned that to have a screening at the Cannes Festival it was not enough to win the best comedy award; you had to take home the best picture award. “When I learned that, I decided to focus on producing a film for the 2013 Campus Movie Fest,” he said.
Under the Campus Movie Fest rules, the film had to be produced in one week. Working under a tight deadline, Girard recruited his Dayside Productions actors, who had worked on his earlier films, and in three days he shot the film at various locations in Chinatown, Bayside and Flushing. The remaining four days were spent editing and working on the original soundtrack created by a Brooklyn punk/pop band.
Having captured the coveted award, Girard reflected upon his young career. “Five years ago, we were submitting films to festivals that were not even accepted, and now we are top filmmakers at Hunter and have been invited to screen our film at Cannes. This proves to us that we are truly improving our craft.”
Girard said he will continue to hone his craft, work at LaGuardia as an editing room lab tech, complete his degree at Hunter and, of course, to save up for his trip to Cannes.
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.