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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE student wins Texas film award for first attempt

By Marley Malenfant/se news editor

Matt Morgan, a dual credit student at SE Campus won Best Student Film at the Texandance International Film Festival.  Photo by Casey Holder/The Collegian
Matt Morgan, a dual credit student at SE Campus won Best Student Film at the Texandance International Film Festival. Photo by Casey Holder/The Collegian

When Matt Morgan moved to Texas from Kalamazoo, Mich., he shot videos to pass the time. Morgan’s pastime earned the Best Student Film award at the Texandance International Film Festival for his drama Eyes of the Beholder.

The indie short film features a teenage girl blind since birth. One day, she awakens and can see. She doesn’t know why she can see, but her lifestyle changes drastically.

“When I moved to Texas, I was bored,” Morgan said. “My dad had a video camera, and I shot these cheesy videos. I didn’t think of it as a career at the time.”

Morgan started shooting videos at 11. Now 17, he is a dual credit student on SE Campus. With a low budget and only a year in production, Morgan said he is proud of the film under his company, Field 11 Studios. Morgan said the film has six main characters and 20 extras. Most were local actors, and some were Morgan’s friends.

“I would guess the film was about $3,000,” he said. “The money came as we went along. I had a guy who helped out with a large part of the budget. We didn’t even have a budget at the time. Some of the money came from savings. Some came as we went along.”

Morgan said being home-schooled gave him the freedom and time needed to make movies.

“I started home schooling in the ninth grade,” he said. “It was my idea. My mom did it for my siblings. I had to argue with them about why it’s better and how it saves money. I was tired of seeing my brother and sister sleeping in while I had to get up every day for school.”

Morgan said action films were some of his early influences. He said he watched the behind-the-scenes section of the Lord of the Rings DVD many times.

“I thought it was cool. That kind of led me to film,” he said.

SE student and Eyes of the Beholder producer Adam Emerson said Morgan is efficient.

“He’s easy to work with,” he said. “He’s very goal-minded and very serious with his work. He’s on everybody about getting stuff done so there’s no fooling around.”

Morgan said of all the films he’s shot, 10 of them really matter. But most of his experience comes from videos he’s shot for companies.

“I did some corporate videos and got paid,” he said. “Those aren’t as fun to make. They’re like safety videos, ‘Don’t harass your employees’ videos, but mostly training videos for Alcon Labs.”

While still filming as a hobby, Morgan plans to study commerce. He said learning other skills will help to better understand the film industry.

“I plan to get a business degree first,” he said. “I’ll probably get a master’s in film after the business degree.”

 

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