Brownsville filmmaker receives recognition nationwide at film festivals

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Brownsville native Marie J. Magdaleno has been recognized by film festivals across the nation for her new short film “Petals.”

Filmmaker Marie J. Magdaleno. Courtesy of Marie J Magdaleno

“Petals” was filmed in Brownsville and San Antonio within a span of one weekend. The short film was in post-production for 48 hours and grabs inspiration from real life situations.

Magdaleno added a more personal touch to the film as she not only wrote, directed, and produced the short, but also debuted as the lead actor in the film.

“I directed it, I wrote it, I produced it, and I acted,” Magdaleno said. “That was really challenging, to act and direct at the same time.”

Magdaleno’s interest in film began at a young age when taking a family trip to Universal Studios. The theme park, highlighting television and film production, was the foundation that paved the way toward her path in film production.

“I think I fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to do this,” Magdaleno said.

In high school, she began attending film workshops in Austin, getting firsthand experience as to how the film industry works.

“Anytime I had a little school break, I would attend workshops,” Magdaleno said. ” I met some people that to this day are dear friends of mine.”

Magdaleno captures her love of Texas by implementing her community into her projects.

“I’m big on Texas filmmaking and women film in Texas,” Magdaleno said. “Texas is my home.”

Scene from the short film “Petals”. Courtesy of Marie J. Magdaleno

“Petals” is the first film she created since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The local filmmaker’s cinematography creates a bond with the audience to feel connected as it portrays a relatable life lesson.

Promo photo of the short film ‘Petals’. Courtesy of Marie J. Magdaleno

After some time, she was able to bring her vision of ‘Petals’ to life.

“I got a sense of freedom,” Magdaleno told ValleyCentral. “I was able to just feel so inspired and motivated to do this.”

During the search for the lead role of “Petals,” Magdaleno felt she was the one capable of fulfilling the part.

“I put out to try and cast an actress and then as days were going, I realized I don’t think that anybody could really portray this, but me.” Magdaleno said.

Throughout her projects, Magdaleno has kept the same production crew, including in her new short film.

“My production crew is from the Valley. My audio guy, my editor,” Magdaleno said. “They’re just people that I’ve worked with from day one.”

Behind the scenes of short film 121. Courtesy of Marie J. Magdaleno

She and her team have been nominated for a variety of national and international awards including Best Director, Best Short Film and Best Feature.

“All of our films for the most part, have been nominated and have won awards for the work that we’ve done,” Magdaleno said. “It’s such a proud moment to be able to put Brownsville on the map.”

Her latest short film has been featured in film festivals across Texas, such as El Paso Media Fest, CineSol Film Festival, as well as the New York Film Festival in Queens, New York.

In all, Magdaleno has directed six projects: “Fearless Fight” (2015), “Redemption: Between the Lines” (2016), “Home” (2016), “Piper” (2017), “121” (2019) and “Petals” 2022.