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CAL students shine on silver screen

Matt Moffitt has no qualms about being labeled.

In fact, he says out loud what you may have thought after watching a brief movie about his life.

“I like to think about myself being a super nerd,” the aspiring video game designer and animator says.

Indeed, Moffitt, 17, a senior at the Center for Advanced Learning in Gresham, is so self-assured, he willingly allowed his fellow students to document a slice of his life last year in “Matt’s World,” a short movie detailing his attempt to create his own superhero animated series.by: GRESHAM OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Matt Moffitt, a senior at the Center for Advanced Learning in Gresham as well as Centennial High School, displays the artwork he hopes to someday turn into an animated series, in the award-winning student film Matts World.

The film was a project for the students’ Digital Media & Design program at CAL and aired on “The Hype,” a student-run TV show produced with MetroEast Community Media.

The movie is one of 15 short flicks that Fresh Film Northwest, a juried festival of work by up-and-coming teen filmmakers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska chose for an award-winning screening next month in Portland.

“Matt’s World” includes one scene of Moffitt playing a Wii game of the animated character Sonic the Hedgehog, as Moffitt wears a foam Sonic cap. The scene is both funny and innocent, yet the student has no fear of being ridiculed should the film go viral now that it’s on YouTube. He says he’s comfortable to be shown as he is, a budding animator with a passion for his craft.

“I just let them take the wheel,” he says of fellow seniors Devin Curtis, Timothy Blakely and Nick Hoff, all of whom collaborated on the flick. “I was just the passenger.”

Steering the filmic vehicle was Devin Curtis, “Matt’s World” director. Like his compatriots, he’s 17, a CAL senior and a student at Centennial High School as well. He says he chose Moffitt as the subject for the movie because he sensed the teenager’s zeal for his art.

“I was interviewing Matt, and he started talking about the drawings he did,” Curtis says. “What makes me interested in a documentary is seeing people be passionate about what they do.”

Blakely photographed the film and says the most difficult shot was one encompassing Moffitt’s artwork.

“He had so many drawings,” Blakely says. “I had to stand on a chair to get a really good angle to get all of them.”

Hoff, the film’s sound engineer, says his job was probably easiest.

“There were minimal failures,” he says. “The biggest things were batteries dying and a few cables didn’t work correctly. The acoustics where we were filming, in his school and his home, were pretty good.”

The four young men did admit to one technical difficulty when making “Matt’s World.”

“We didn’t really know how to operate the lights all that well,” Curtis says as the others nod their heads.

“We smelled something burning and saw some smoke coming out of a light,” Blakely adds.

Fortunately they were able to unplug the light before “Matt’s World” turned into a disaster flick, and the students were able to complete their project.

Meanwhile, Moffitt continues to nurture his dream of turning the super hero drawings he displays in “Matt’s World” into an animated series as well as a movie. He dismisses much of today’s animated TV shows as too focused on snarky humor and wants to create something more inspiring.

“Rather than turn the series into a long-running joke, I want to turn it into a long-running story.”

He also hopes to employ Curtis, Blakely and Hoff as voice actors.

“I plan to keep in touch with these guys.”



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