April 20, 2021

SMC Student Film “Broken Layers” Headed to Cannes

Broken Layers Poster
“Broken Layers”—a short film written and directed by Santa Monica College (SMC) film student Niccolo Rolim—has been accepted into The 24th American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Student Showcase during the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. SMC is the only community college and one of seven U.S. film schools represented in the showcase; the other student films featured hail from USC (including a film by SMC alum Kevin Maxwell), Florida State University, The George Washington University, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and the School of Visual Arts. This is the sixth SMC student film to screen at the showcase.

SMC Student Film “Broken Layers” Accepted into The American Pavilion at Cannes

Humanist Portrayal of Iraq War and its Aftermath is Sixth Film out of Santa Monica College’s Film Program at Showcase, Only Community College Represented & One of Seven U.S. Film Schools

SANTA MONICA, CA—“Broken Layers”—a short film written and directed by Santa Monica College (SMC) film student Niccolo Rolim—has been accepted into The 24th American Pavilion Emerging Stude­­nt Showcase during the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. SMC is the only community college and one of seven U.S. film schools represented in this category of the showcase; the other student films featured hail from USC (including a film by SMC alum Kevin Maxwell), Florida State University, The George Washington University, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, NY Film Academy, and the School of Visual Arts.

The sixth SMC student film to screen at The American Pavilion, “Broken Layers”¾which will screen in the Emerging Filmmaker Student Showcase category—is a humanist portrayal of the Iraq War and its aftermath as experienced by Rosa, a half-Latina, half-Arab U.S. Marine.

“The inspiration for "Broken Layers" came from witnessing friends and family struggle to establish a cultural identity as immigrants,” said director Niccolo Rolim. “As a first generation American, I often felt a sense of otherness while growing up and in turn I became fascinated by the personal journeys that immigrants and their children undertook in pursuit of the American dream. More specifically, those who expressed patriotism for their adopted country via military service motivated me to make a film that explored the ways in which the children of immigrants reconcile their ancestral heritage with the dominant culture of their adopted country.”

SMC student films have won numerous accolades—including production grants from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), co-production sponsorships from Keslow Camera, and the Next Generation Indie Film Awards Foundation grant; the Panavision Limelight Award at the Ojai Film Festival; Best Short at the Vienna Independent Film Festival, Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival, several Gold Remi Awards at WorldFest-Houston, Best Short at Port Blair International Film Festival in India, Best Short Drama at the San Diego International Film Festival; Best Short at the Prague Independent Film Festival; Prix Interculturel at the International Festival of Film Schools in Munich; and Winner at the Women's Independent Film Festival, among many other awards. In addition, SMC short films have been selected to screen in many prestigious domestic and international film festivals.

“’Broken Layers’ is both a highly engaging story and a haunting meditation of the aftermath of war,” said SMC’s Film Production Faculty Lead Salvador Carrasco, who also served as executive producer. “It is also a powerful artistic testament combining the nuanced performance by Rawan Hage as Rosa, the stylized yet realistic visuals of Milana Burdette and her cinematography team, and the unforgettable soundtrack by Mixtape Quartet. This is the kind of film that makes us proud of what we’ve accomplished in the few years of existence of the SMC Film Production Program.”

The other SMC shorts to have screened in competition at the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase in Cannes were “Solidarity” (directed by Dustin Brown), “Cora” (directed by Kevin Maxwell), “Spaghetti Romance” (directed by Carrie Finn, in co-production with CinemadaMare), “Life in Color” (directed by Bishal Dutta, in co-production with Bridge the Divide Media), and “The Attempt” (directed by Daniel Despart).

Several films that have played at The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase have gone on to be shortlisted for Academy Award nominations.  For more information on The American Pavilion at Cannes, visit www.ampav.com.

SMC offers an Associate of Science degree and Certificate of Achievement in Film Production. To learn more, visit www.smc.edu/filmproduction or email Carrasco_Salvador@smc.edu. The film program—as well as the films that come out of it— is on YouTube as the “Santa Monica College Film Program” channel.

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