A Diamond In The Ruff

While most students coast through college, doing nothing with their lives, there are a few here at FAU that are contributing to society and breaking the mold. It is quite possible that among the nameless peers you encounter in classes and hallways, there exists the next big thing. Perhaps our generation’s best sports heroes, writers, doctors or in this case, filmmakers, exist among yourselves on this very campus.

When students who were leaving a film appreciation class were asked to list the names of filmmakers they knew about, the replies were general and predictable. Spielberg, Howard, Lucas, Scorcese, Coppola and Kubric have earned their place in the college student’s psyche, but what about the filmmakers that are not part of Hollywood’s elite, what about the filmmakers who are right here on the FAU campus?

One of these up-and-coming local filmmakers is Alex Marquez, a 23 year old FAU film student on the brink of graduation. When he came here from Venezuela in 1997, he entered Palm Beach Community College armed with a dream and a second language that he learned from David Letterman. Growing up on American television and movies, Marquez was determined to leave his mark on the history of cinema. His first attempt at putting a vision to film was in 1998, when he made a music video for the Spanish rock group, “Desolado”. A novice cameraman and not yet a confidant director, Marquez was given $1,500.00 worth of film and asked to create a music video. He looks back now and jokes now about the project’s turnout, saying, “it’s decent for what it was”. One good thing that came of the job was the payment, a left over roll of twelve-minute film, valued at about a couple hundred dollars.

With the film he earned, he started on his next project the following year, a film called “Love”. This film was a catharsis for a painful breakup and won him third place in the 2000 Palm Beach Film Festival’s community college category. That same year, he began his third film, “Soap Opera”, which this time brought him first place at the 2001 Palm Beach Film Festival. In 2001, he made two films, “Blinker”, a film shot through the eyes of a killer with a blinking problem and “9” a psychological thriller.

Just recently, Marquez finished “Student Movie”, a hypothetical

film that asks the question, “what if?” He is happy about the film’s turnout and will submit it for this year’s film festival, but he has doubts. This will be the first year he is in the university category rather than the community college one. “This year I’m up against students at schools like UF and FSU. Those kids generally can afford to have good film, whereas I use VHS film. People want to see a movie that looks like a movie, not a home video”.

Even if he doesn’t win this year, Marquez is satisfied with just getting his work shown. For him, simply getting your name and work out there is what’s important.

Although he is embarrassed of some of his earlier work, he says he can look back now and measure how much he has grown in such a short period of time. He laughs as he remembers some of the films, “it gives me confidence. I don’t take it too seriously, that’s just where I was at that moment”.

For now, Marquez is just looking for a job where he can use his creativity. When asked if film school for graduate work was in the future, he laughed and vehemently shook his head. “After being here where all I learned was film theory, I think it’s time I get some hands-on work”. He feels his time here has been wasted: “at least at PBCC, they have equipment. Here I don’t even consider it a film department because there are almost no practical classes offered”. As for right now, he’s just looking forward to no longer being in the restaurant business or school. Hopefully with all of the talent inside of this young man, one day you’ll be seeing the name Alex Marquez in lights, not in the yellow pages under “event photographers” or in the credits of a 4 a.m. infomercial.