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It's Your Life / People, Places and Things to do. : FAST TRACK : Cannes Prize Proves Filmmaker Can Do : The career of a Newbury Park High graduate gets a boost with latest recognition for his short film.

June 15, 1995|BILL LOCEY

Newbury Park High graduate Richard Sears, a 25-year-old filmmaker now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, got Hollywood's attention recently when his entry won best short film at the Cannes Film Festival.

Based on a short story by the late Charles Bukowski, "An Evil Town" is about a drifter who has a violent, disturbing encounter with a hotel clerk.

"It was my first film after [college]," Sears said. "I met an aspiring producer who liked the story and put up the money, about $30,000. I shot it two years ago in five days, but it took two years to complete."

After winning an award for best short film at the New York Underground Film Festival in March, Sears submitted the 20-minute piece to the Cannes Film Festival, where it beat out about 70 entries.

Sears attended the festival. "I saw a lot of bad films and had a lot of meetings," he said.

The young filmmaker earned a degree in fine arts at San Francisco Art Institute, which allowed him plenty of freedom, he said, but not much help after graduation.

"There was no job placement. It was more like 'Have a good life. Bye,' " Sears said.

Sears's newfound prestige appears to be helping him line up financing for a feature, "Nights Under the Sun."

"So far, so good," he said.

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