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Short films run the gamut

Visit Nepal. Follow a 1930s Old West bank robber. Or enjoy animation.

You can do all that and more at Laguna Beach Film Society’s “August Summer Shorts” at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at South Coast Cinema in Laguna Beach.

All the films were made by current or former Laguna Beach residents. Some are student films, such as Samantha Willson’s “Abre Tus Alas” (“Spread Your Wings”), a 1.5-minute animated film about a family of birds in Mexico.

Willson made the film while studying sculpture and animation at the Laguna College of Art & Design. The film features an appealing group of jungle birds. Willson, who graduated in May, is now living in Pasadena.


“Each frame of my film is drawn by hand on paper and colored digitally on a computer,” Willson said in an email. “I used paper cut-outs for my backgrounds to give an added child-like quality to my film. My film was inspired by Disney-animated films like ‘The Three Caballeros’ and artists like Brittney Lee.”

Filmmaker Galen Thorne graduated from Laguna Beach High School and is now studying for a graduate film degree at San Diego State University. His 24-minute film, “Scofflaws,” was made in Arizona and follows a sympathetic bank robber “trying to make a better life for his wife and their future,” according to press material for the film.

“I wrote the script, which is set up like an old Western film,” Thorne wrote in an email. “‘Scofflaws’ is 24 minutes long and is in application for international film festivals. The cast and crew are San Diego and Los Angeles local professionals, students and friends. My father, a historian, helped with the props and costumes to help fit a classic 1930s look.”

“Board Room” by lifelong surfer Maggie Franks features a longtime Laguna Beach local, Evie Fletcher, in a locally made film about two retired executives who hold weekly “board meetings” at Doheny Beach, and, in a humorous turnabout on the Beach Boys’ song, are determined to “keep surfing until the kids take the car keys away.”


“When my sons headed to high school, I enrolled in the UCLA screenwriting and film program,” Franks wrote in an email. “As a result, I have written several award-winning feature film scripts. Currently, I have a big wave surfing feature film that is in development.”

Grant Reed and Kai de Mello Folson’s “Incest The Musical” explores uncharted celluloid territory as twin siblings of opposite sex realize “they’re perfect for each other” as senior prom approaches.

In “Wash Me,” by Winston Tao, a police officer tries to balance the complexities of his life and career.

Last but not least, filmgoers can see Laguna’s own “goat lady,” Rosalind Russell, in action as she dispenses goats and empowers women in war-torn Nepal.

Russell says the film, which is about nine minutes long, was made with the help of her adopted Nepalese son, Rabindra, from footage dating back to 2004. She says it doesn’t portray the full scope of her work with women in Nepal, which since then has included the building of a school and planning for another.

"[The film] doesn’t reflect our literacy classes for adult women in more than 28 villages with more than 2,000 graduates, or the cottage industry work we have in more than 29 villages,” Russell said in an email.

The cost for the film presentation is $15. For $5 more, patrons can go to a reception with the filmmakers at 6 p.m. Aug. 18 at Wells Fargo Bank Community Room, 260 Ocean Ave. Tickets for the viewing only may be purchased at South Coast Cinema.

For more information about the Film Society, call (949) 494-8961, ext. 201 or visit