The Metro Cover Movie Premiere Film Festival – Raton & Other Indie Films

by on December 20, 2009

in Entertainment, movie reviews

The other night I was invited to check out a mini film festival of sorts in Downtown San Jose.

There was a compilation of short shorts (films, not clothing people!), & short films. The event took around 45 minutes in all and I came away from the event with my emotions fully engaged. It was a well spent 45 minutes, indeed.

David J. Bettencourt, the producer of Raton, said that Raton won Best Picture in it’s competition and by so doing, they were invited (again) to participate in the International Film Shootout competing against independent film crews from all over the globe. The winner will receive a showing slot at the Cannes Film Festival next year!

“Our entire crew is composed of local film makers that have studied all over the Bay Area but primarily at DeAnza Community College. The efforts put forth in this “micro” film movement has garnered the attention of the Metro Magazine which resulted in this week’s massive front page spread.” (See Metro Magazine link for the full article.)

And you know I’m supporting the local gang to go all the way!


The short evening started out with a bit of a humorous scene, but it wasn’t on the screen, it was in the audience…

A phone went off and someone yelled out something critical, accented with an expletive. Then someone yelled out, “get the battery!” I got a kick out of that. I think I like this group. They’ve worked hard at what they produced and they aren’t going to let the experience get ruined by a cell phone.

[With deft trepidation of movement, I quietly pulled my cell phone out and turned off the cell phone mode… then quietly slipped it nonchalantly back into it’s carrier. Gulp… that one was close!]

One of the first shorts I saw was the 7 minute Raton by Team Stroganoff.

When Raton started, it had the feel of Ghost Busters meets Men In Black, well, except they were wearing white.

The short jumped in hard and I was feeling lost yet drawn into wondering what the next moment is going to bring. Feeling like I was lost in the moment kept me wanting to see more. It wasn’t a bad lost feeling at all, if that makes sense. When I finally got the big reveal, it was pretty interesting.

Raton was entered in the San Jose 48 Hour Film Project and took away the following awards from the event:

  • Audience Choice Award,
  • Best Actor,
  • Best Sound Design,
  • Best Director,
  • Best Film.

Raton was uploaded to YouTube and I’ve installed it at the bottom of this article for viewing.


In the middle of the fest, is Mike Chance’s The Reason.

The Reason clocks in at just under 14 minutes and I couldn’t get enough of this film.

It’s about a veteran police officer who reaffirms his reason for service while responding to a deadly 911 call. The side story is the angry perp who, after all is said and done after an ugly split-up, only wants his son. There are no winners in this piece as the inevitable events surrounding domestic strife, violent law-breakers and law-enforcement get blended into the same story.

Through the piece, each character was fully explained and Mike Chance packed in a beginning, middle and end. If this project were expanded / adapted into a full feature film, I think it would be a great project.

you can find this film at, “Projects,” then “Film.”

Credits for The Reason:
Writer/Director/Producer Mike Chance
DP Ryan Greeley
Writer/AD Jacob Rangel
2nd AD John Broglin

The Vet: Andrew Dillon
The Perp: Jacob Rangel


The third movie that really captured my attention was the science fiction, end-of-the-world movie called Knuckle Berry.

Knuckle Berry? Yea… that name came about in a late-night editing session, so suddenly it makes perfect sense. There was no real trick to it. Plain old exhaustion brought that one about.

Knuckle Berry just starts out with people leading their every day lives as things start to go wrong with society. In this case, made by local San Jose filmmakers, the region around San Jose was going downhill… as people were

We even got to watch downtown San Jose get dusted in the end.

Pretty cool! The audience loved the flick or San Jose getting wasted.




Credits for Raton:
Team Stroganoff (48 Hr team name)
Writer/Director Jacob Rangel
Producer/DP Jason Burton
Producer/Rat People David Bettencourt & Marcus Araiza
AD John Broglin

Zach Alexander Jake Lyall
Clue Zach Gossett
Ms.Diamond Teressa Byrne Foss
Receptionist Marcella


Other projects and other sites from Jacob (Jake) Rangel: JakeFilm on Vimeo;, The Screening Room on,

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

David Bettencourt December 21, 2009 at 11:31 am

FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for attending and I’ll keep you posted on the next screening.

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