Short Film Review: THE ASTRONAUT. Directed by Damian Apunte

THE ASTRONAUT is an very sweet 5 minute short film that takes us into the world and imagination of 7 year old AURA. Her hero is Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic women to go to space. Aura also wants to go to space one day  and she uses the Lighthouse that is close to her home as inspiration. Perhaps one day it will turn into a space shuttle, she can hop on board and fly into space.  

Besides a brief cameo by her Abuelita (grandmother), the actress Nora Harriet, who plays Aura, is the only performer in the film. Told in a narrative structure, the audience learns of Aura’s vivid imagination, and her passion for anything space. There is a strong theme of dreams & female empowerment through out and one can’t help but feel inspired themselves when watching too. How children get into things and feel love for it. Whether it’s dinosaurs, dressing up dolls, or with Aura – space. How that passion can lead to so many things. Kids use their imagination to explore their loves and find their inner selves. Many times their actions and feelings are traits that adults should do more too. We can look up to kids and they can teach us a lot. There is an innocence to that feeling Aura has, but she’s still a person with conflicts and emotions. Aura has asthma and there seems to be an absence of her parents. She’s already lived life a bit, understands that it’s not always happy and rosy. But she still has that flame to live and be the best person she can be.

What is touching about this film is that it has a timeless feel to it. We know that she loves Ellen Ochoa, who rose to prominence and fame in the early 1990s. So we assume that the film is set anytime in the last 30 years, but we do not know the exact date. There is an unique art direction in the home that gives us a feeling that this could be anytime and anywhere.

Great short film. Perfect in its length. A film for everyone with unique and original direction.  

by Eli Manning.

Winner of Unity & Inclusion Award for NASA’s International Cinespace contest and premiered at Houston Cinema Arts Festival.
Official Selection for Culver City Film Festival and Santa Monica International Film Festival.

Director Biography – Damian Apunte

As a first generation Ecuadorian raised in the Asheville, NC, Damián viewed the world in an unconventional way. His intrigue of the unique beauty in the darkness influences Damián’s aesthetic vision through his reflective storytelling. Additionally, his discovery of existentialism paired with life changing assaults shaped his compassion for the human soul. This compassion is something he strives to share with the world by making films that make you feel. His lifelong quest is to find out “who got the hooch?”

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video from the Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film Festival:

  • Erika Martinez – Producer
  • Taius Greenidge – Producer
  • Nora Harriet – Key Cast “Aura”
  • Ofelia Rivera – Key Cast “Abuelita “
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