COM Hosts Film Screening Starring Alumnus

Raymund Aranda stars in feature film Heading Down South


(L–R) Film Antics group: Juan Sotelo (Partner, Producer, Screenwriter), James Davis, Jr. (Partner, Web Producer, Actor), Raymund Aranda (Partner, Producer, Actor) and Paul Aspuria (Co-Founder, Director, Editor). Photo by Keith Baker.

On Thursday, March 5, Academy of Art University alumnus Raymund Aranda presented his feature film, Heading Down South, during a screening hosted by the School of Multimedia Communications. Written and produced by Juan Sotelo, the film tells the story of a dysfunctional couple, played by Aranda and Nahreen Tarzi, on a road trip to attend an important, yet stress-provoking wedding. Along the way, they meet a variety of interesting characters, including an eccentric stranger played by James Davis Jr. The film was directed and edited by Paul Aspuria and was shot over the course of three weeks using a Blackmagic RAW digital camera.

This was not their first film together. The team has created a number of films for the 48 Hour Film Festival over the years, many of which also starred Aranda. “Paul and I came up with the story, I wrote the screenplay, and within six months, we were filming. We felt like, if we could do a 48 Hour film, we could definitely do a feature film, and while utilizing our own equipment,” Sotelo said during the Q-and-A session following the screening. The film had a budget of $9,000, spanning 112 scenes and 24 different locations. When asked if there was more to come, Aspuria shared that there is plenty more to come.

Following the event, Aranda shared, “The film pretty much represents the things that we’ve all gone through in our lives. That’s really the best way to approach a film. Shoot a film that comes from what you know.

“Shooting was challenging but was a lot of fun. I’ve worked with James; he’s my business partner. We’ve worked with each other on a number of projects. It was kind of like a family reunion. We gel really well. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so we know how to get the best performances out of each other.”

When asked about his performance, Aranda said, “It’s always awkward for an actor to watch themselves on the big screen. I would say I’m happy with my performance because of the fact that it is difficult for me to watch this particular performance because it does affect me so much. I tend to relive what Dean, my character, emotionally is going through. I was fortunate enough to have a great screenwriter and a great director.”