Dark sarcasm in the classroom

By Jason Schock
Local filmmaker and UNL senior Brent Scott Maze will hold a film fundraiser to help finance his latest, darkest project, Faces and Stones, this Thursday night at the Falls City Country Club.

 Five short films – beginning at around dusk – will be shown (for a small donation of $1 per movie; or whatever you can afford to invest in a local artist) that have yet to be released on the Internet, including:

Infinite, where within a series of visits to his psychiatrist, a young man finds his way to the roots of a mysterious recurring dream, but discovers much more than he bargained for;

The Shed of Our Skin, an exhausted detective turns to a colleague for information in an attempt to finally get one step ahead of a sociopath he has been hunting for years;

Identity of Another, this heavily stylized, neo-noir, short film examines the frantic, yet suspenseful aftermath of a young criminal’s most recent hit. Through a turn of events, he is forced into impersonating the man he just disposed of;

Ambulance, after being brutally beaten and left for dead, a wealthy playboy finds aid in a passerby with indecipherable motives; and,

Kale and Marco Witness a Murder, in this short comedy, two young stoners accidentally become witnesses to a brutal murder. However, after being paid off by the killer with a briefcase full of cash, they have a difficult decision ahead of them.
Maze is seeking financial backing for Faces and Stones, which he hopes to start shooting at the end of next month, which happens to be the beginning of the end for him at UNL (he said he hopes to perhaps even graduate a semester early, in December).

The production of Faces is larger than any of his other projects up to this point. Unlike his other films, Maze is employing others to handle shooting, lighting, etc., while he concentrates on direction.

The story is as strong as anything he’s done, as well. The script centers around a young photographer/small-time weed dealer, played by Falls City native and Ambulance lead Tyler Sells (“he’s my go-to guy”) who takes a risk at big money in a one-time drug deal (of a hallucinogen called “2CE”) that goes a bit awry. In a dark isolated mansion, the character discovers that a long-presumed dead girl is being held captive by a dirty cop and his perverted buddies. Eventually, the scene drops a level to the cellar, where a bizarre human sacrifice/acid trip/pig party is just getting good before the photog saves the day (and the girl). But due to his reputation, nobody — except, in the end, a reporter — believes him.

“Exploring the life, mind and soul of the anti-hero or underdog is something I have always been and will continue to be intrigued by,” he said. “I didn’t purposefully write it as a horror film, but it’s going to be pretty dark and twisted. Really creepy atmosphere.”

Employing a crew, renting lenses and lighting gear, feeding an entire crew, costuming, props, hotels, and flying Sells to and fro his new locale in Colorado will up the ante on Faces (well into the thousands of dollars). Maze hoped to perhaps use this project as his senior thesis (and thus utilize otherwise pricey UNL resources), but that idea wasn’t so well-received by the upper brass, so Maze, who bristles when discussing the decision-making bureaucrats who generally yield the power in a state university setting, is left to pay the tab himself.

Perhaps adding to a restless impulse to be done with school, Maze spent a week in June at Shreveport, LA, and El Dorado, AR, working on a short film with Alexander Jeffery, a 2011 Nebraska graduate who relocated to (where else?) LA to make films. ​In ‘13, Jeffery received the Royal Reel Award at the Canada International Film Festival for his first feature film One Way.

Maze now really wants to get out there on his own. Sooner rather than later.

“We are unfortunately ‘geographically handicapped’ in a way, due to the fact that the film industry tends to be focused around the coasts and not the Midwest,” Maze said.

 “We need all the help we can get from the communities to bring a much bigger film industry presence to the heart of the country. There are stories here that need to be told. And with the help of investors and donations, we can make it happen,” he said.

“I have poured so much of my beliefs and heart into this script that it has become a very substantial story that touches on deep subject matter, such as the impact and power of true love and desire, the exposition of corruption amongst the powerful, and how those who have heart can overcome even the most perilous situations,” Maze said.

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