NU student wins best actor award at Campus MovieFest

By Amy Eisen, News Correspondent

A Northeastern student has taken home the gold at the Hollywood Finale of Campus MovieFest (CMF), the largest student film competition in the world. Mateo Caldas, star of the short dramatic film “Reset,” won Best Actor, beating out thousands of other students from universities across the world.

“Reset,” at only five minutes long, has a stirring and mysterious story. The film is about Mark, played by Caldas, who is given a special reset button to go back in time to save his girlfriend from an accident, right before he was about to propose.

Director and captain of the team, Scott Keenan, drew his inspiration for the idea from the actual reset button itself, which he had found years ago. Keenan brought the button to the first pre-production meeting, where the whole team pitched in ideas for the story.

They needed a strong actor to play the main role, choosing Caldas for his dedication and talent.

“We were looking for someone we could trust to put the movie before himself and be there whenever we needed him,” Keenan said.

The role can definitely be considered intense, and required Caldas to convey complex emotions, including fear, confusion and sorrow, in a sincere and gripping way. The fourth year media and screen studies major not only showed up for rehearsal, he brought his A game.

“The transformation into his character was an amazing sight to see … it was very clear that his performance was going to turn out to be something special, Keenan said.

Acting is not just a hobby for Caldas, but his career goal. As a child, he starred in short action movies directed by a friend of his father. He was always very careful and meticulous, spending a lot of time applying the fake blood and bullet holes to his costume. Caldas took a hiatus from his acting career to become a professional motocross rider, but was drawn back to acting and has decided to pursue it in his college studies.

“I remember looking at a Bruce Willis poster back when I was around seven, dreaming that being an actor was what I was going to do when I grew up, no matter what,” Caldas said.

He had participated in CMF last year, although this is his first year starring in a film. Both Caldas and Keenan describe the filming process as very hectic and stressful, with tensions rising between the crew, including between the director and his star. Despite all of the issues during the filming and editing process, which lasted only one week, per the contest rules, a successful film emerged.

In addition to Caldas’ win for Best Actor, “Reset” made it into the top 25 films, out of nearly 10,000 entries, and received the nomination for best director.

The biggest prize, says Caldas, is the satisfaction of achieving his goals. “It feels very rewarding…nothing materialistic can overcome the inner happiness I am still feeling,” he said. In fact, Caldas wasn’t even sure what he has won yet.

Caldas attributes his success to five things: “It really shows you that hard work, consistency, perfectionism, commitment and seriousness pays off.”

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