To commemorate my start as a filmmaker 15 years ago, I am sharing a retrospective series of write-ups dedicated to my past short film work that includes brief commentary for each short film as well as a few "fun facts" about their creation.
2/16. Does Free Speech Matter? (2005)
A father becomes politically active on the eve of war. Starring Alonso J. Rhenals and Samuel Valencia.
Made for a nationwide short film contest on the topic of free speech and won placement as a semifinalist (one of eleven out of several hundred entries). This film is unique in my catalog for being an historical drama. It was inspired by unpopular anti-war sentiment in 2003, a time not so different from our present when politicians and the almighty corporate mediasphere implicitly drummed up rabid support for perpetual war and hostility against unaligned Arab nations of the Middle East.
This short film also represents the first of three times I have directed my older brother, Alonso J. Rhenals, in a lead role in what has become a tendency, for better or worse, of casting family and friends in my work.
• An early idea for the short film had McDonald's fast food chain mascot, Ronald McDonald, attempting to brainwash the child character.
• The fife and drum music heard throughout the film are authentic reproductions of American Revolution-era music.
• The moustache my older brother wears in the film is fake.
Festivals & Awards:
• Semifinalist in the 2nd Annual Youth Free Expression Film Contest, 2005
• Official Selection at the Slow Film Festival in Hungary, 2007