, Santa Fe University of Art and Design film school professor Don Gray represents his film team, Trinidad Mustache, at the international

competition. ---

Last August, their film, Where Sheep May Safely Graze, won the local Albuquerque qualifier in the 48-hour film category. This week, it contended with 115 other international winners in Hollywood.

To compete in the 48-hour film category, a team must complete a film within 48-hours of receiving initial requirements. These requirements included a genre, a particular character, a prop and a special line of text. This year’s text line was “I see stars.”

While some crews don’t make the cut, Trinidad Moustache met much more than the deadline—they were met with awards. Sheep won Best Picture, Best Writing, Best Use of Line and Audience Favorite.

The team was stunned: Sheep would move to Hollywood.

Having recently returned from Filmapalooza, Gray tells SFR, "I was really very proud and exited, and a little bit humbled. There are some amazingly talented people in New Mexico. In Albuquerque they fielded 53 films. So to have our film win best picture in Albuquerque, so to carry that with the New Mexico flag to show to world and the country, it really was an amazing experience."

Gray attributes his success to the film’s story. “I always look at that when I finish a film: the arc of the story and the characters. [ Sheep ] was only seven minutes but you really felt like you got a complete story.”

Sheep is seven-minute detective story that follows a murder witness’ testimony. The story twists as the witness, a young boy, reveals the sheriff and his deputy to be the criminals by the use of the required line: “I see stars.”

For this use of the required line, Filmapalooza awarded Sheep the Best of Use of Line award. Gray is quite happy with his team’s success. “I try not to go in with any expectations. I’ve entered a lot of films in a lot of competitions. Sometimes they do really well; some times they don’t do well. I certainly felt confidence. But there was a lot of competition.”

Gray tells SFR that the winning team, from Paris, had a larger cast than Trinidad Mustache’s entire cast and crew combined. But with what they had, Gray doesn’t think his team could have done much better. “Frankly, we really could have used more resources. I think we made a hell of a fire from rubbing two sticks together, but some of the teams were using Zippo lighters.”