Film showcase to highlight student-created video productions

04.23.2014 | By Rob Vanya

San Jacinto College students Ramon Cordova (left) and Adan Beltran clashed on some creative ideas during production of their video “Survalant,” but learned to compromise to come up with solutions. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.


Film showcase to highlight student-created video productions


A featured video in the upcoming San Jacinto College Film Showcase will be “Survalant,” a video written by San Jacinto College video production students Ramon Cordova and Adan Beltran.

The showcase will take place on Sunday, May 11, and Monday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. (both nights) at Slocomb Auditorium, located on the Central Campus at 8060 Spencer Hwy. in Pasadena. Admission is $10 per person, at the door, and includes all films in the event. In addition to “Survalant,” which is 20 minutes in length, several other student-produced videos will be presented at the showcase, which will last about 90 minutes. The showcase will also include productions of the College’s 52-hour video contest, which was held in February and was open to community film artists, as well as college and high school students.

The student-produced “Survalant” (rated PG-13 for language and violence) is a science-fiction video about aliens abducting humans and experimenting on them in an effort to understand the mind of man. The roles of David, Joe, and Olivia are played by San Jacinto College theatre students Marco De’Anda, Jaylon Scott, and Jessica Alvarado (respectively). The experimental subject of the aliens is David, a psychopath who gets his kicks from murdering beautiful young women. Joe, the alien researcher in charge of David’s case, undertakes an experiment to replace David’s psychopathic tendencies and desires of murder with those of love and care for Olivia. Will Joe’s radical untested experiment succeed and allow the aliens to raise a colony of humans?

The word “Survalent” was made up on the spur of the moment by the writers Cordova and Beltran. “We wanted the name for the video to be unique, but at the same time make you think you knew the word,” commented Cordova. “So we thought of the word ‘surveillance’ but twisted it up a bit.”

The plot for the film evolved from a scriptwriting class assignment to base a script on a Twilight show episode where aliens, who look like humans, have a time machine and study why humans act the way they do. The aliens study why one human murders another one. So they repeatedly rewind the moment the murder occurs. “Adan and I knew we wanted to do something off the wall and a little bit more sinister, so that is why we included a psychopath as a character,” Cordova remarked. “Things started rolling and we came up with a screenplay. My personal inspiration for the video is (acclaimed filmmaker) Christopher Nolan because I enjoy the way viewers never see certain things coming in his films, and the way there are big ‘reveal’ moments in his movies.” 

Cordova, who graduated from Pasadena Memorial High School, will earn an associate degree in video production from San Jacinto College in May, and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in cinematography from Stephen F. Austin University.

The two students admittedly clashed on some creative ideas during production of “Survalant,” but learned to compromise to come up with solutions. “Ramon and I really feed off of one another, but any creative collaboration is going to involve a few deadlocks where you disagree on important ideas,” commented Beltran. “You learn to give and take, and actually the compromises we reached made the final production better, I think.”

Beltran, a graduate of Chavez High School, plans to earn an associate degree in video production at San Jacinto College and transfer to the University of Texas to earn a bachelor’s degree in cinematography.

San Jacinto College offers theatre courses and degree options at the Central and South campuses. The College’s film and video production program is housed at the Central Campus.


About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.

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