Professor Explores Immigrant and Veteran Social Issues with Award-Winning Short Film

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – “Black Six, this is Red One. Black Six, we have dead and wounded. Black Six, this is Red One, is anyone on coms?” Ira, a fictitious combat veteran, shouts into his radio as he slowly realizes he isn’t on the battlefield but is living alone amidst the desolation of the South Texas border country.

The opening scene for “The Good from the Bad,” which was written and directed by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Edward Tyndall, is a poignant representation of what many combat veterans experience when they come back home. A veteran himself, Tyndall’s short film recently won the Eric Adair Veteran Award for Best Military Veteran Filmmaker at the 2018 Austin Revolution Film Festival. In just 17 minutes Tyndall takes his viewers on a soul-searching journey while he follows the interactions between an undocumented immigrant, Araceli, and Ira, the combat veteran who finds her fighting for her life on the migrant trail.

“Often, veteran issues are more comfortably supported by people who have political affiliation on the ‘right’ while those on the ‘left’ are more vocally in support of migrant rights,” explained Tyndall, associate professor of media production. “With this film, we ask the audience to step out of their comfort zone and find empathy for both of these marginalized individuals.”

The film was created as part the media professional program which is designed to help Island University students transition from creating content for their class to stepping into the professional world of film. During the two-week-long August session, students train with production experts in intensive shooting environments while serving in key crew positions such as assistant camera operator, production sound mixer, script supervisor, assistant director, production assistant, acting roles, and more.

“Much of the work we do in our program is training our students to be able to tell a story – one with a beginning, middle, and end – at the short film level and if they can, they’ll be able to do it at the feature-length film level,” shared Tyndall.

After months of script writing, Tyndall brought in a professional film crew to work alongside the media production and theatre students. Christopher Lee Herod and Crystal Costadoni, Islander alumni, played the leading roles while more than 15 Islander student names appear in the film’s credits for their contribution.

“This program is a direct representation of the media production program goal of graduating competitive film students who can enter the job market and prosper,” said Tyndall. “The success of this film is also a testimony to the quality of actors the Theatre Department turns out and it’s a testimony to the University President Kelly Quintanilla’s ability to see opportunities that involve interdisciplinary collaboration.”

Over the course of six days, Tyndall and his team shot the entire short film in and around Austwell, Texas – a small city located in Refugio County that boasts a population of 149. Once filming was complete, it would take another five months to finish the soundtrack, apply edits, and submit it to film festivals. The film then showed at the highly selective Marfa Film Festival in July and won the Narrative Short Special Jury Award at the 2018 Cinema on the Bayou film festival.

The "Good from the Bad" can be viewed below or on Tyndall's Vimeo page, Mobius Films.