The Red Queen, a feature length film shot as part of The University of Texas-Pan American Summer Television (P.A.S.T.) program, continues to rack up awards. The latest are a Silver Palm at the 2010 Mexico International Film Festival and a Bronze Remi at the 43rd Annual WorldFest Houston International Film Festival.
"It's a testament to the professionalism and perseverance of our students," said Associate Professor David Carren, the director and co-writer of the film. "After all, they made the movie. Most of the cast and all of the crew consisted of UTPA students."
"Our judges felt that your film demonstrated excellent and outstanding filmmaking and is deserving of special recognition," Coury stated in his congratulatory letter to Carren. The Red Queen was among only 20 films in each category chosen for the Silver Palm award.
The film received the Bronze Remi award in the Feature Film - Low Budget (under $100,000) division. This recognition was especially significant, Carren said, because WorldFest is the third oldest international film festival in North America and this year had more than 4,400 category entries competing from 33 countries, and, in its division, more than 50 entries.
The Red Queen has also received an Honorable Mention in the 2009 Los Angeles Reel Film Festival and a second place in the 2008 University Film and Video Association Conference Screenwriting Competition. This year, The Red Queen was also an Official Selection at the 2010 Cine Las Americas Film Festival in Austin, Texas, where it had its world premiere.
The Red Queen is the 17th feature film produced through UTPA's Department of Communication and the first to use Hollywood actors along with Rio Grande Valley locals. The film stars UTPA alumnus and current graduate student Valente Rodriquez of "The George Lopez Show," Estephenia LeBaron, who was featured in the film "The Alamo," and Harley Jane Kozak, most recognized from the film "Parenthood."
The film, an action-filled thriller that focuses on a young woman's search for the true identity of her deceased mother, was directed by Carren from his screenplay, which was based a story conceived by Dr. Jack R. Stanley, UTPA professor of theatre, TV and film. Carren's credits as a writer/producer include Star Trek: The Next Generation, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Diagnosis Murder.
Another UTPA alumnus and Emmy-winning editor (for the TV show "The Amazing Race"), Stephen Escobar edited the film, which is a Jesco Entertainment Presentation of a co-production between the University Theatre Department and Green Queen Productions. Carren, Stanley and Dr. Marian Monta, professor of theatre, TV and film at UTPA, are the film's executive producers.
The film was shot in the South Texas locales of San Juan, South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Edinburg, and McAllen. Carren said the project was the university summer program's most ambitious production with martial arts fights, a car chase, and elaborate sets built at two university facilities.
"We're fortunate that Valente Rodriquez is writing and directing our next P.A.S.T. film this summer," Carren says. "It's another great opportunity for our students to display the talent and expertise available at UTPA and in the Valley."
For more information on the P.A.S.T. program or The Red Queen and its distribution, contact Carren at 956/358-6799.