Student’s short horror film in International Film Festival

Daily Sundial

A short film directed by CSUN student Sterling Silva will screen at the upcoming International Student Film Festival Hollywood competition, which will run from Nov. 1 through Nov. 6 at the Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn in North Hollywood.

The film is the result of a semester-long group project Silva and other students worked on for Professor Michael Hoggan’s 355 intermediate film directing class, Silva said.

Silva served as the project’s director.

“The part I’m looking forward to the most is seeing the works of the other students that (worked in) the genre of horror, since that’s the genre my group’s project is in,” Silva said.

“The Recorder,” Silva’s film, is approximately nine minutes in length.

According to Silva, the film is about two men who go on a hiking trip and eventually get lost in the wilderness. The men’s technology fails, including their global position system, or GPS, device. Upon walking around the mountains and forests, the group finds a red backpack identical to one that one of the men is carrying, he said.

“But the reason this new backpack is red is because it’s all bloodstained,” Silva said.

“They look through the stuff inside the bag, and they find this recorder,” he said. “Basically, (the recording) shows them their future. They’re still lost in the forest, but have become angry.”

The two men in the recording start to fight and one of them gets killed, Silva said. The two men see this, and they end up fighting at the end of the film. It ends off right at the part where one of them is going to get killed, he said.

“It’s very open ended, and you don’t know who gets killed,” Silva said.

Silva is one of two CSUN students who directed a film chosen for the International Film Festival Hollywood. The other film, directed by Heather Hillstrom, is called “The Wounded Man,” and will screen on Nov. 4.

“I’m excited in seeing what we’re up against in the festival,” said Jaime Bugarin, senior CTVA major, editor and main actor of “The Recording.” “Since it’s an international film festival, it’s even more exciting. We get to see what’s out there.”

“We only had one take for each scene we filmed,” Bugarin said. “We didn’t have enough film to do many takes, so I was impressed with what we got when I was doing the editing.”

Silva also made another film, “Rainy Day Charlie #20 in 04,” at this time/this reason, but he said he did not like that film as much as “The Recorder.” That film was what Silva described as an “educational satire” featuring a school setting and a man who just wants to get an education in the face of cruel teachers and a bureaucratic administration.

“I’m more proud of ‘The Recorder.’ It came out great – the music score, the editing, and the filming of it. I liked it all,” he said.

Silva said his favorite part about the whole project was that it was fun to work on. He said he enjoyed working with his group, and especially looking over the storyboard pictures and scripts for the film.

“I had fun visualizing what these storyboard images would be like when it was filmed with actors and everything,” he said.

Other members of the group that produced “The Recorder” were also satisfied.

“The best part about this project was seeing everything come together at the end,” said Ashley Benning, CTVA major and producer of the film. “Seeing the edits, the acting, the shots we took – it was all worth seeing.”

“We worked so hard on it, and I really loved the end result,” she said.

According to Silva, “The Recorder” is visually appealing, despite the fact that no digital effects were used. Most of it involved camera work, he said. There were no lights used aside from the sun, he said.

“This film takes place in the day, out in the wilderness. So it worked out well,” Silva said.

“I’m really hoping to win with this film at the festival. But if I don’t, then that’s OK too,” he said. “I’d just like to come away from the event with a fun experience. I’d just like to talk about the creation of films with the other people that will be attending.”

Silva’s film will screen in the Horror Thriller Block Nov. 4 from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m.

Tickets are available online at

Mark Solleza can be reached at