"The Fight" is a film about a young woman who must weigh the value of the life of her only son against the lives of many. And it's made by a 17-year-old high school senior.
"I like to have a point to what I do, rather than just make movies for the fun of it," said Nicholas Moreno. "I hope it affects someone."
The Los Banos high-schooler's feature film is set for a midnight debut today at Premiere Cinemas, 245 Mercey Springs Road. Moreno will show his hourlong film again Saturday at 10 a.m.
Moreno's been working on the film for about 18 months. It features nearly two dozen actors, mostly classmates. Moreno wrote, directed, edited and did everything else except write the score. He even did some stunts.
"I broke my foot filming this movie," he said. "I was showing the actress (how) to do a stunt and I accidentally fell the wrong way."
Moreno worked a summer job to pay for much of his equipment, like the Steadicam, and built whatever else he could, like a track for the camera dolly.
In "The Fight," a domestic terrorist demands plutonium within 48 hours from an FBI agent. If she doesn't deliver, the terrorist threatens to kill her son, whom he has kidnapped.
Moreno, who made the movie like a guerrilla filmmaker, said his favorite directors are studio movie makers like Christopher Nolan, James Cameron and Michael Bay.
Moreno said he's excited about the première, but anxious.
"I'll probably go there, introduce myself, but I'm not going to stay in the theater," he said. "I'm kind of scared of people not liking it."
His father, Trino, said his son has been making movies since he was 6 or 7 and is too hard on himself.
"He's his own worst critic," Trino Moreno said.
The elder Moreno assisted with the do-it-yourself equipment, like the dolly and a rain machine.
To rally his classmates for future projects, the budding filmmaker started the Film and Movie Entertainment club, or FAME, at Los Banos High.
After high school, Moreno has his sights set on the same school that rejected one of his favorite directors, Steven Spielberg, the University of Southern California's film school.
Tickets for "The Fight" will be available at the door. Nicholas Moreno said he expects to sell out the midnight show, but seats remain for the Saturday morning showing.
"We've already sold a lot of tickets," he said.
To see the trailer, go to www.losbanosenterprise.com.
Los Banos Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by e-mail at .