New CNM Student Film Gets Picked Up for National Distribution
A scene from "Stardust Memory."

New CNM Student Film Gets Picked Up for National Distribution

The award-winning film is a romantic drama shot here in New Mexico
February 23, 2021

Back in 2018, CNM Film Production student Cindy Kemp and a local movie crew headed to the Jemez Mountains to shoot “Stardust Memory,” a film that Cindy wrote, directed, and produced. All the actors were local and fellow CNM Film students or graduates filled jobs including camera operator, script supervisor, production assistant, set photographer, and boom operator.

Running on a micro-budget of $2,500, she and the crew spent just five days filming but were able to put together a thoughtful romantic drama about a woman finding love and all the twists and turns that accompany her journey. 

When the film first screened on March 9, 2019 at the Guild Theater here in Albuquerque, “Stardust Memory” immediately gained attention. It was selected for the Four Corners Film Festival, the Redwood Film Festival—where it won Best Romantic film of January 2021— and the Non-Violent Global Film Festival. After screening at the Non-Violent Global Film Festival, Cindy then received an email from an up-and-coming production company that wanted to acquire the film for online distribution. 

“I was shocked and in disbelief when I got the email because I wasn’t actively looking for distribution…I thought that maybe it was a joke or a scam,” Cindy says. “But once I read the email and looked at the Distribution Agreement, I knew it was the real deal. Then I was excited and just laughing, because it was real, but at the same time, so unreal.” 

As “Stardust Memory heads into distribution, Cindy hopes the film will reach a wide audience and that people will watch the film and be moved and uplifted. 

“I chose a romantic drama because I didn’t want to put more violence out into the world,” she says. “There is already so much of that in real life and in the movies and TV. I think as filmmakers we have a platform to affect our audiences positively or negatively. I have chosen to tell positive stories that make people feel good and that they can relate to.”

She’s also excited for the film to help her and her fellow filmmakers gain exposure.

“‘Stardust Memory’ is my calling card now,” she says. “It not only gets my name out there, but also the names of my actors and my crew. It opens doors to new opportunities and will hopefully give people I work with an opportunity to do what they love.”

Cindy, who actually worked in CNM’s School of Applied Technologies before retiring and then joining the Film program, credits the college for much of her and the film’s success. She says instructors helped with the film’s script, provided feedback on the final cut, and helped her render the film before its premier. 

Cindy says she encourages anyone who’s interested in film to enroll in CNM’s program because it’s designed to give a broad overview that sets students up for success, no matter which part of filmmaking they choose to pursue. 

“In the program I was taught broadly about what it takes to work on a film set,” she says. “I learned what each department is responsible for and learned about set etiquette and about working as a team. There was also lots of information about how to use all the equipment employed in filmmaking. Having this full picture was crucial for becoming a director.” 

Moving forward, Cindy is more inspired than ever to keep creating. She has several projects in the works and hopes to shoot her next film—a comedic romance she wrote while in the screenwriting class at CNM—later this year. Long term, Cindy wants to keep filmmaking and see where it takes her.

“I would love to produce and direct projects full-time and be able to make filmmaking a second career,” she says. “You have to keep at it because that is really how the success comes along.”

You can watch the “Stardust Memory” trailer here.