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Filmmaker hopes short goes long way

His 30-minute award-winner could bring more directing opportunities.

For Josh Smith, winner of the Pennsylvania Filmmaker Award of the 2008 West Chester Film Festival, ideas for many films come to him in the middle of the night. They come in the form of dreams, mapped out and ready for the screen.

That's why it's no surprise that he shot his award-winning short

Four Thorns for Aidan

in just a week. Not only did it win at last month's West Chester Film Festival, the movie also won Best Student Film at the 2008 Main Line Film Festival and the 2007 Redemptive Film Festival in Virginia.

However, Smith thinks that there is no commercial market for his film since it's only 30 minutes long. The only place for it is film festivals, and the short has been entered in more than 25 festivals. "I can use it as a platform for job opportunities in directing," he said.

The story is about Aidan, a young man troubled and grief-stricken over the loss of his family, who steals a car. Unbeknownst to him, a little girl, Rebecca, is in the car, and his act has made him not only an auto thief, but also a child abductor.

Smith said he got his inspiration from "growing up in the Main Line and watching so many parents who would push their kids so hard." The thorns, a biblical reference, represent Aidan's readiness to make a decision that will certainly land him in jail, explained Smith, 22.

Right now, Smith is living outside Tokyo, working as an assistant producer on a film called

IX: Destiny's


Smith described it as a film about a Japanese Joan of Arc, due out in 2010.

When he began getting interested in filmmaking in high school, he looked to Asian films for inspiration. One of his favorite directors is Chan-wook Park, a Korean filmmaker famous for his vengeance trilogy films.

Growing up in Berwyn, Smith said, he was part of the "television generation," so he didn't watch a lot of films. "It didn't interest me as much as playing outside and riding my bike," admitted Smith.

He graduated from Conestoga High School in 2003, spending the last two years as an art scholar. He went on to Drexel and finished his degree in film production in 2007. He then freelanced as a magazine photographer.

Smith said he would "love to direct another film," preferring directing to producing. "My main desire would be to make a sci-fi fantasy film . . . about our need for courage to resist oppressive worldly authorities and the honorable nature of sacrificing our own ambitions for the sake of helping others," he said.

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