Local film maker attributes success to mother

Edgar Sanchez left home last July chasing his dream to make movies. Now he's one step closer to making it a reality.

"It's almost even too unbelievable for me," Sanchez said. "It's been a great ride, and it's gonna be a great ride."

Sanchez, 19, has been in Las Vegas this week filming a screenplay called "Twenty-one" with Nayib Estefan, son of Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estevez.

Of all people, his mother has been the one who has encouraged him the most.

"I really would not have been able to do anything like this without her support," he said. "It took her a while to really understand what I wanted to do, but she has been really supportive ever since."

He said he has needed her support to adjust to the rapid pace of his new life.

"Things have just moved so quickly down here," Sanchez said. "The things I have experienced to this date are amazing."

Sanchez met Estefan in film school and the two decided to work together on the project. Sanchez wrote the script based on a short story written by Estefan.

Sanchez will be directing the work and Estefan will produce it under his production company, Distrakted Productions.

"It's his first short film," Sanchez said. "We have some backing from his parents."

The film stars two young boys who accidentally get into trouble with the mob and end up going to Las Vegas to try and win the money to pay off the mobsters.

While in Las Vegas, the two run into more problems.

Santiago Douglas plays the mobster's son. Douglas starred in "Girl Fight," which won Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

"There's a lot of great characters in it," Sanchez said.

Sanchez attended Empire Elementary, Eagle Valley Middle School and Carson High School. He left school two months early to pursue his film career at the Los Angeles Film School.

He had to write a 15-page essay explaining why he wanted to attend the school, which opened August 1999.

Based on his essay, he was one of 16 students accepted from a pool of 20,000 applicants.

"They were looking for serious people who are very passionate about film," he said.

His passion for films started early.

He said he was inspired by movies such as "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "Goonies."

"The movie magic is what got to me," Sanchez said. "In a movie, you can be whoever you want to be. You can be in big explosions or in car chases."

Sanchez said he has always had a love for the camera and even did a documentary of his friends in high school.

"I was notorious for always carrying a video camera to parties, everywhere," he said. "There's a few videos Carson High would like to see that they'll never get their hands on."

He said moving to Los Angeles from Carson City was a culture shock.

"It was a 360-degree rapid change overnight that I basically just endured," he said.

However, he said that his friends he has made in L.A. understand his passion for films more than his friends in Carson City did.

"The movie was either good or it sucked," he said. "I always had more to say about it."

Elsa Martinez, Sanchez's mother, said she is happy to see her son's success.

"I feel very excited and I'm so proud," she said. "I just hope that he can make it. It is the best reward as a mother to see that your kid is doing what he likes to do."

Sanchez said he expects to finish the film by July 5, then hit the festival circuit such as the Independent Digital Projects Festival and the Latin Film Festival.

Sanchez will graduate from the film school in June.

He said by the time the students leave the one-year program they are ready to go out into the professional world because they have a lot of hands-on experience making small films.

"From there you can build a reel," he said. "The school helps you distribute it."

He said it also helps that all the instructors are working professionals so students can go on movie sets and participate in mock situations.

"You learn from the best," he said.

Sanchez's teachers have included William Fraker, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers and two-time Academy Award winner Junuz Kaminski.

Sanchez is studying cinematography and Estefan is studying directing. However, Sanchez said that does not limit them to that specific field.

"Everybody here is a writer and a director and everything," he said.

Although Sanchez is pleased with his success, he said he knows there's still a long road ahead.

"I'm still young," he said. "I've got a long way to go. This is just the beginning."

One day, he wants to come back to where he started.

"One of my goals is to someday be able to go back and make a movie in my hometown."


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