A young man with connections to the area has been invited to the Cannes Film Festival in France, after making a powerful short movie about school shootings.
Chase Parker, an 18-year-old student at Sam Houston State has seen a lot of Hollywood in his young life. He was a child actor, a child of actors and the grandson of a star from Hollywood's golden era.
"Both of my parents were actors, my uncle is a writer and actor so I guess it runs in the family," he said.
His grandmother, Eleanor Parker, was an academy award nominated actress that appeared as the Baroness in The Sound of Music.
Chase himself appeared in the sitcom Sunset Beach as a child. When that show was cancelled, his parents made the decision to move to the Houston area, where his family settled in the Tomball, Magnolia and The Woodlands area.
"I think my parents made the right decision," he said. "I was able to have a regular childhood and get away from the fantasy land of Hollywood. I've learned a lot about Southern hospitality here."
He loved the area so much that he decided to attend Sam Houston State and enroll in their new film program. It was there that a professor approached Chase with the idea to make a film to submit to Cannes.
"One of my professors, Tom Garrett, said he thought I was an intelligent kid and that we had an opportunity to submit a film for this," Chase said. "I thought let's go for it."
Chase gathered a couple of writers, Alex Scott and Luke Armstrong and started a three month long process that would ultimately turn into Left Behind, a short 15 minute film that follows the thought process of a possible school shooter.
"I just sat down and thought about things that were heavy topics at the time," Chase said. "Our goal was to, not necessarily show sympathy to a school shooter, but just why someone would do it and what maybe caused them to."
They spent three months writing, holding production meetings, securing equipment, fundraising, shooting the film and editing. They submitted the film to Cannes and waited.
Then weeks later, Chase was asleep early one morning, when he was awakened by the ping of an incoming email on his phone.
"I was actually woken up by the sound of my iPhone, I checked the phone and it snapped me awake," he said. "I opened the email and immediately did a happy dance and started calling everyone involved."
Chase will travel to France next month to participate in the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner, where his film will be judged by the likes of Steven Spielberg.
"I think that is just an honor to have my film looked at by him," he said. "I'm very proud we got into the festival and the other opportunities it has provided."
Other opportunities like having his film specially premiered at the Silverado IMAX Theaters in Tomball earlier this week, or the opportunity to intern with a major film company in the near future. The premiere also featured a trailer for Chase's first full length film, which will be finished later this year.
"I'm a little bit overwhelmed, like I can't believe it really happened, but I'm glad it did," he said. "Hopefully I can keep doing this for as long as I want to."