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UCLA student chooses Victoria for 'The Gulf'

July 16, 2014 at 2:16 a.m.

On the set of "The Gulf," directed by Dripping Springs native Rick Perry, who currently resides in California. Perry filmed his short film in Victoria and the surrounding areas about two weeks ago and invited area residents to join the crew as extras.

Victoria is the place to be, especially if you're shooting an up-and-coming short film.

"The Gulf" is a short film directed and co-written by Rick Perry, not to be confused with the soon-outgoing Texas governor.

The film is about an individual who encounters a crisis, which causes him to re-evaluate his life and reach out to a friend from his past.

He travels across the U.S. to meet up with his friend and find fulfillment and happiness. It was co-written with Wes T. Martin.

Of all the locations Perry could have chosen to work, Perry picked Victoria and surrounding counties to film.

"I always had the Texas Gulf Coast in mind when I wrote the screenplay, but Victoria stood out for a few reasons," said Perry, originally of Dripping Springs, and now living in Los Angeles. "Victoria can play as a small Texas town or midsize city anywhere in America. It offers more affordable housing for our crew than the larger cities in Texas, and it is near the coast."

But Perry, who is filming "The Gulf" as thesis work for the University of California, Los Angeles, said his primary draw to the Crossroads was the hospitality.

"More than anything, it's the people who live here who make it inviting for filmmakers," he said.

Perry explained that everyone in Victoria was more than accommodating and flexible with a tightly-budgeted film schedule, citing the Victoria Chamber of Commerce's assistance with connecting him with Victoria TX Indie Film Fest Executive Director Anthony Pedone.

Pedone was able to provide extras, assist with location approvals and lend camera equipment to the shoot. He also lent Perry his VTXIFF offices in O'Connor Plaza to view footage.

"I have worked on several big shows like 'Prison Break' and 'The Sing-Off' over the last nine years in a variety of capacities, but this is my first time to direct in Texas," Perry said. "So to have the support of the local officials, business owners and managers and arts community has really made the whole experience fantastic. Victoria is on the top of my location list for future projects."

Perry's mother, Robin Perry, also visited the Victoria filming location to watch her son direct the film.

"I have watched my son on various sets, but this was my first time to see him debut his directing talent, and I was so excited and proud to be part of the project," said Robin Perry, who also served as the film's accountant and one of the many extras.

Perry explained the next steps for his film will be in the editing room before moving on to the film festival circuit.

"I plan to submit it to Sundance Film Festival and AFI Fest in August," he said.

But he's content being a director, wherever that path leads him.

"Making films is about collaborative creativity. Everything is a team effort," he said. "As a director, you're the leader. It's a great joy and serious responsibility. I love every minute of it. I would love to return to Victoria and adapt this short film into a feature film."



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