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Local filmmaker depicts his time as ‘Crossing Guard’ in Cinequest short

Local filmmaker depicts his time as ‘Crossing Guard’ in Cinequest short

Tony Gapastione dreams of opening a film studio near his Redwood City home. In the meantime, his side gigs have included a stint as a crossing guard at his daughter Sophia’s school.

Gapastione combined his passion for filmmaking and his experiences seeing the students at Roy Cloud Elementary School safely onto campus in a short film called, not surprisingly, “The Crossing Guard.” The film is part of the shorts program titled “We Are…” playing at the Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival this month.

While the film hits close to home—Gapastione plays the title character, and Sophia plays his daughter Mimosa—many of the events it depicts are exaggerated for comedic effect.

“I did have a gentleman who was exercising who did chase me down because I wouldn’t let him on campus,” says Gapastione about one scene in the eight-minute movie.

Mimosa has an unseen brother named Martini; the siblings go by Mimi and Marty. The filmmaker says he got the idea for the names from a comment made by a friend.

“He said, ‘I’m so tired of kids named after furniture and fruit,’” Gapastione recalls.

“The Crossing Guard” is the second film Gapastione has had screened at Cinequest. His feature film “Last Chance Charlene” won an audience award for Best Comedy Feature at last year’s festival and has since gotten distribution on Apple TV.

This year Cinequest is hosting two opening nights, the first on Aug. 15 at the California Theatre to mark the festival’s run in downtown San Jose. The second opening night is set for Aug. 24, when Cinequest moves its screenings to the ShowPlace ICON Theatre in Mountain View.

The “We Are…” shorts program is screening Aug. 27 and 29 in Mountain View.

“It’s a little closer to home for me,” Gapastione says. “I love Cinequest and the community they’re creating.”

As CEO of the BraveMaker Film Festival in Redwood City, Gapastione understands the work that goes into creating that community. The four-day festival, held in July, marked its fifth year this summer. The nonprofit also offers acting and screenwriting classes and helps aspiring filmmakers raise money for their projects.

Until he can fulfill his dream of opening a production studio, Gapastione is content with the work he’s doing to shine a light on Bay Area filmmakers.

“I think there’s a lot of good things coming out of here,” he says. “I wish I had more resources.”

For Cinequest tickets and a full schedule of screenings and special events, visit https://cinequest.org.