Watch Outstanding Student Movies: NPR
Every week in July, Weekend edition celebrates outstanding student filmmakers and their projects. We have found short films released over the past year that show a unique perspective on current events from filmmakers across the country.
Last updated July 4, 2021. This page will be updated weekly with new selections.
Chuj summer boys
Listen: Director Max Walker-Silverman on “Chuj Boys of Summer”
The 17-minute film follows a migrant teenager named Yakin. He is originally from Guatemala and speaks only Chuj (pronounced “chew”), the language of his indigenous people. Little by little, we see him settling in Telluride, a small town in Colorado.
Director Max Walker-Silverman says it’s a coming-of-age story, told from the perspective of immigrants who have to be the breadwinners as they go through adolescence.
It uses non-professional actors, many of whom are native Guatemalans who immigrated to the United States and now live in Telluride.
Walker-Silverman co-wrote the film with his friend Marcos Ordoñez Ixwalanhkej Mendoza, who is Chuj and originally from Guatemala.
“For some films there is a very clear line between writing, casting and directing,” says Walker-Silverman. “That’s really not the case here, because the writing was me and my co-writer sitting down and telling stories, details, things that were close to their hearts, that were close to their hearts, that they would like to be in this movie. “
The actors would discuss the scenes before the shoot, sometimes making changes. “This is the way of giving control and empowering people that it really is about,” he says. “So that makes each person fully involved a writer, a director himself.”
This page was originally published on July 4, 2021.
Andrew Craig created and produced the Weekend Edition Student Film Showcase. Ed McNulty edited the audio interviews. James Doubek produces for the web.