Student Spotlight: Eduardo Hernandez ’22 Short Film Inspired by Dartmouth’s Film Community

Created for her graduation thesis, the film highlights the beauty of life by exploring unexpected romantic relationships.

by Alexandra Surprising | 03/05/22 02:00

Source: Courtesy of Eduardo Hernandez

Film major Eduardo Hernandez ’22 started behind the camera in college, making morning announcements and sketching on the lunch menu. He found the experience “enthralling” – now he is producing and directing a short film for his main thesis titled “I hope you don’t care what I put into words”. To be completed by late spring, the short focuses on the uplifting early stages of love and stars Annabel Everett ’25 and Jack Heaphy ’24.

Hernandez began taking film lessons as a freshman at Dartmouth, alongside motivated friends who were also keen to make art. Hernandez cites professors as having helped cement his passion for filmmaking, particularly film and media studies professors Mark Williams and Iyabo Kwayana. Through their classes, Hernandez said he discovered the type of films he wanted to make.

“My experience has been all about the teachers,” Hernandez said. “[Professors] have always shown work that pushes boundaries, not just to be weird or shocking, but to really bring emotion to life.

In addition to teachers, Hernandez said he thrived on the powerful collective energy generated by Dartmouth’s film community. Hernandez described how this community of passionate students encourages creativity, rather than creating competitive tension.

“A lot of people at school really want to make movies,” Hernandez said. “I came [to Dartmouth] at a very fortunate time when a lot of people are equally excited and equally dedicated to making great movies, and also working to become great artists.

Hernandez emphasized the power of collaboration in filmmaking, an attitude that fuels much of his process. Shevaun Aysa Mizrahi, a professor of film and media studies, worked with Hernandez in the Leaders program, where this type of collaboration was essential. According to Mizrahi, the film department selects a few “outstanding students” who serve as mentors for younger students. This year, Hernandez worked as a leader.

“He’s a remarkable person and incredibly generous with his time,” Mizrahi said. “He was available for all kinds of projects, some that were well organized and had a clear vision, but also others that needed a lot of support and attention. He is very invested in the development of the community and more particularly in the creation of a community of filmmakers in Dartmouth.

This sense of community and collaboration proved essential to Hernandez’s next short. Hernandez stressed the importance of a synergistic environment for the process of making a film, where the boundaries between roles – director, writer, actors, crew – can be relaxed.

“Everyone on my team thinks in unique, singular ways,” Hernandez said. “…It’s a radical process that’s not director-centric, but more collaborative.”

Malik Terrab ’25, who worked on the short with Hernandez, said he was particularly inspired by Hernandez’s diligent process and dedication to craftsmanship.

“He gave me a lot of confidence in the department because it’s not a film school, it’s a liberal arts school,” Terrab said. “[Hernandez] is a big proponent of production. He showed me that it was possible to make quality films here.

According to Hernandez, the short film is a kind of love story. Everett and Heaphy play Audrey and Max, two people who meet at a party and then drive off together, leading to an intimate interaction in Audrey’s car. Hernandez said he draws inspiration not only from his own life, but also from the experiences of the entire cast. During the writing process — and even while filming — Hernandez asked the actors to reflect on their own memories of love’s first thrilling moments.

“[My short film] it’s a night out with friends, but it’s really about meeting that person,” Hernandez said. “There is this unspoken but so present energy. There is nervousness and excitement. It’s so exciting.

Hernandez clarified that the film is not set in a single period. Rather, he characterizes the short as “a romantic comedy that borrows from different eras”. In addition to costume design, the film’s set design requires meticulous planning: one scene required 1,000 lights cascading downwards. Hernandez hopes his short film will generate an emotional reaction in viewers, unlike other films which might trigger a logical one.

“People usually look at movies the same way they analyze literature. I want my work to be different,” Hernandez said. “I want you to feel something…to feel like something new… that you go back and watch it again because it evokes those feelings you have for that special someone.”

Hernandez explained that her short is mostly driven by honest vulnerability and an investment in the beauty of life.

“My work is most informed by emotion and human experience,” Hernandez said. “I want to make movies that have something fresh, new, and nuanced to say about what it’s like to be alive and what it’s like to be human right now.”

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