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Local Filmmaker Takes His Best "Shot"

08-12-2008 11:31 PM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Film Classics productions

SAN ANTONIO – Award-winning filmmaker Bryan Ortiz and Film Classics Productions will premiere his latest short film, "Four Minutes Till the End", on Wednesday, August 13.

"Four Minutes Till the End", a science-fiction thriller about a young family (played by actors Rick Carrillo, Nikki Young, and Gabi Walker) threatened by a mysterious force, was written and directed by Ortiz and produced by Michael Druck as part of the 48 Hour Film Project, an international program that challenges competing teams of filmmakers to show their creativity by producing and delivering a completed short film in only two days. Each film must incorporate common elements (a prop, a character, and a line of dialogue) into an assigned genre chosen at random by the filmmakers at a launch event, held in San Antonio on Friday, August 8. This year marks San Antonio's second year in the 48 Hour Film Project.

Ortiz, who won awards for Best Direction and Best Musical Score for "Last Chance", his entry in 2007's 48 Hour project, drew “Thriller” as his genre. “I was excited it wasn't 'Musical/Western',” jokes the Brownsville native, who now calls San Antonio home, adding that the thriller genre “let me open up creatively as far as what I wanted to do. It was a thrilling experiment – pardon the pun.” For Druck, Ortiz's partner in Film Classics, the genre is a perfect fit for the filmmaker, whose prior credits include the short films "Spiral", a psychological thriller, and "Goodbye Digital or The 5 Stages of Grief in Digital Dating", a romantic comedy in which Ortiz explored the mystery of finding love online. “No one does thrillers like Bryan Ortiz,” Druck says. “If you look at his films, they're all about suspense, whether they're psychological or romantic. So when he drew 'Thriller', I thought, 'Wow, we're going to have fun.'”

To join in the fun, Ortiz recruited a cast and crew featuring veterans from past Film Classics projects, including Carrillo, who starred in the director's first feature film, "Doctor 'S': The Movie". “Last year I didn't get a chance to be a part of the 48 Hour Film Project because of scheduling conflicts,” says the actor, “and I'd been bugging Bryan, since I first heard they were going to do it again this year, to include me in any which way"; instead of the crew position Carrillo was expecting, Ortiz offered him a leading role. For Liz Moise Gonzalez, who co-stars in the film, working with the Film Classics team for the first time (after previously meeting Ortiz in an acting class he facilitated) was “one of the best experiences I've had”; in fact, she was so excited to be a part of the film that she offered the use of her house as its shooting location.

In writing and directing the film, Ortiz challenged himself, his cast, and his crew with the decision to shoot "Four Minutes Till the End" in a single, continuous shot. “I don't know why I just can't do small things,” he jokes. For the Film Classics team, however, challenges are part of the nature of the 48 Hour Film Project. “That's the fun part,” says Ortiz. “You have to have a plan to change your plan.”

That plan produced additional challenges for the actors, who already had to prepare for the physical demands of making a thriller. Carrillo, playing the father fighting to save his family from the invading creature, compared the single day of shooting "Four Minutes Till the End" to three weeks of work on "Doctor 'S'": “It was one solid day of just running, running, running. It felt like those three weeks combined.” “It's the 48 Hour Film Project Workout,” adds Young with a laugh. Nonetheless, the cast and crew enjoyed the opportunity to work on such an ambitious project. “When time is against you and you're running up the stairs and trying to get the shot and the performance just right and you know you only have that day to get it done, it's a real test of your abilities as an actor and as a filmmaker,” says Young. “I got caught up in all the excitement,” says Walker. “It was exhausting, but it was also a lot of fun."

"Four Minutes Till the End" will be screened, along with 15 other 48 Hour films, on Wednesday, August 13, at the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMA WESTLAKES (1255 SW Loop 410); screenings for the “Group B” block of films, including "Four Minutes Till the End", will be held at 6:30 PM and 9:30 PM. Admission is only $8.50; to order tickets, please visit

For more information on the 48 Hour Film Project, please visit

Nikki Young, Publicity
PrimaDonna Productions
210.822.3552 or 210.573.6091

BACKGROUND: Film Classics Productions was formed in 2006 by writer/director Bryan Ortiz, then a student at the University of the Incarnate Word, and producer Michael Druck, then a talent agent. In just two years, the company has produced a series of award-winning short films, including "Compose", "Spiral", "Goodbye Digital or The 5 Stages of Grief in Digital Dating" (winner of the NALIP-SA Spring 2007 Film Slam and the Student Film Competition at the 2007 Seguin Film & Arts Festival) and "Last Chance" (winner of two awards in the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project in 2007). Recently spotlighted in Conexion magazine and in the San Antonio Current, Film Classics is currently in post-production on its first feature film, "Doctor 'S': The Movie", slated to be released in the fall of 2008. For more information, please visit

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