Film student goes to Cannes

The international popularity of Santa Monica College strikes again as Thales Corrêa, a film student from Brazil, had his first short film "Parents" screened during the Festival de Cannes this past week.

Corrêa wrote and directed the film, which features a teenager who is bullied by her friends and misunderstood by her own parents, a situation that tragically leads to her suicide.

Last year, it received Best Picture and Best Cinematography awards from the SMC Film Festival. It is also an official selection for the Black Hills Film Festival in South Dakota and Hamilton Film Festival in Ontario, Canada.

Having his work shown at the Short Film Corner screening room in Cannes increases Corrêa’s chances of having his film selected by international festivals, as well as revealing his talent to professionals in the industry.

“It is a very big event, and you have to plan a lot before you come here," Corrêa said in an interview through Skype. "It is difficult for people to choose what to see, and since I am not famous and not even in the competition, I had to get a crew just to secure an audience to my screening.”

Although Corrêa was attending the festival without his crew, he found support at the American Pavilion, the international booth representing countries from all over the world. He also said he had an encounter with the programmer of a festival of short films in San Francisco, who expressed an interest in screening his film next year.

Attending the event was a learning experience for Corrêa. He said being surrounded by people from all over the world presenting movies made in all sorts of ways comforted him into thinking that producing a film is not just creating and selling a piece of entertainment.

Corrêa said he wants to make a difference by touching people and by having them think deeper. He is always pleased to hear positive feedback on what effect the film has on his audience.

“The feedback is very important to me because it means that despite the artistic form I added to it, my message was still getting through,” Corrêa said.

Corrêa was already interested in film before he arrived to the United States from Brazil two years ago, but he got into the filmmaking process at SMC. He said all general education, as well as the film classes he took, contributed to his making of the film.

“They helped me shape the project I was creating having me consider different angles for my story,” he said. “SMC contributed to give me a cultural background about the history of the country and the people. SMC is basically the center of everything I am doing, everything is coming from there.”

All the projects Corrêa is involved in are with people he met at or through SMC. One of them includes David M. Leidi, a former SMC student who currently attends New York University. They are currently working on a script together.

Besides filmmaking, Corrêa said he is very involved in the community in an effort to make a difference.

He and his marketing classmates created the Suicidal Awareness Team under the supervision of SMC professor A.J. Aldeman. It started as a means to promote the film, raise awareness about suicide in the community, and gain more social responsibility following the recent suicide at SMC in which a student jumped from a parking structure.

“When that happened, we got the message and it increased our responsibility to bring awareness even more,” Corrêa said.

The team had already prepared campaigns developing a marketing plan to create an impact on people. One of them will occur on campus on June 4 with the distribution of wristbands that are yellow, which is the color of suicide prevention.

Another one titled “What Would You Say?” involved filming SMC students while they wrote positive messages to save lives. The videos will be posted on YouTube.

In addition, the team organized an off-campus event at a high school in Santa Monica, where they will screen Corrêa’s film as well as invite professionals who will discuss suicide to teenagers and their parents in an effort to raise awareness.

Corrêa still has a year to go at SMC.

“I know it is difficult, but I have faith that SMC will help me transfer to UCLA,” he said.

For more information about the "Parents," visit