Local Youth to Screen Their Films August 25 at Highlands

Image of Leon Bustos and kids at film camp.

Leon Bustos, center, of Highlands University instructs Las Vegas-area youth at a smartphone film camp sponsored by Highlands and the Las Vegas Arts Council. Photo: Rick Loffredo/University Relations

August 14, 2019

Las Vegas, N.M. – On Aug. 25 Las Vegas-area youth will showcase smartphone films they created at a free summer film camp, thanks to a partnership between New Mexico Highlands University and the Las Vegas Arts Council.

The student films will be shown at 2 p.m. in Highlands University’s historic Ilfeld Auditorium at 900 University Ave. The screenings are part of the Las Vegas Film Festival Aug. 25, which marks more than 100 years of film production in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

A representative from the New Mexico Film Office will be the guest speaker at the beginning of the students’ film screening.

“We offered two one-week film camps where local middle and high school students delved into the process of using smartphone technology,” said Leon Bustos, interim director for the Highlands Undergraduate Enrichment program. “The content ranged from learning about screenwriting to editing videos, as students were exposed to the various operations of filmmaking.”

Bustos taught the free film camps at Highlands June 17 – 20 and June 24 – 27, along with Highlands media arts and technology graduate Jamie García and current media arts and technology student Daniel Ulibarri. García double-majored in music and Ulibarri is a double major in English.

The film camps were the result of a collaboration among Roxanne Gonzales, Highlands provost and vice president of academic affairs; Angela Meron, Highlands media arts and technology professor; and David Rogers, Las Vegas Arts Council vice president of its board of directors.

“The main goal of this film camp project was to grow and nurture the critical thinking, technical skills, and expression of filmmakers. We also wanted to promote the kind of resources and technology Highlands offers in the media arts and technology department,” Bustos said.

Thirty-one students participated in the film camps at the university’s McCaffrey Historic Trolley Building, which houses the university’s state-of-the-art media arts and technology department.

The students were asked to submit one- to two-minute films created entirely on a smartphone or smart device. Celebrity judges are being selected to review the students’ films.

“Highlands is committed to developing, expanding and enhancing collaborative community partnerships. I want to thank the Las Vegas Arts Council for providing me the opportunity to work with local middle and high school students. I look forward to collaborating with the council on future programming,” Bustos said.

Donors for the film camp include Joe McCaffrey, a Highlands alumnus from Las Vegas, and Leveo Sánchez, chair of the Highlands Board of Regents and also a Highlands alumnus.