In Alumni, Awards and Achievements, Department of Theatre and Media Arts

BYU Department of Theatre and Media Arts grad Jared Jakins and his wife Carly win Best of Show and Utah Short Film of the Year for “El Desierto”

Media arts studies grad Jared Jakins’ film “El Desierto” follows the lonely life of a shepherd in the Great Basin. (Courtesy of Jared Jakins)

BYU media arts studies grad Jared Jakin’s short film, “El Desierto,” has received significant attention from the filmmaking community for its creative use of silence — using only sound design and music — to portray the lonely life of shepherds in the desert region of the Great Basin in the West. 

“This is my fourth short film, so we wanted to do something that was really different for us,” said Jakins. “We wanted to do something that other filmmakers weren’t doing. The film developed its own voice and that meant it was going to be a silent film — that was quite thrilling to us.”

The inspiration for this 19-minute film produced by both Jakins and his wife Carly — who graduated from BYU in anthropology — was Jakins’ upbringing in the sheep-growing community of Fountain Green near the Great Basin, where he lived after immigrating from South Africa when he was three years old. 

Jakins was intrigued by the humble lives of immigrant workers who come to the U.S. on visas for three years at a time to work as fruit pickers, farm workers and shepherds. These hard-working people have been the subject of other short films Jakins has produced.

“El Desierto” was awarded both the Grand Jury Prize for Best of Show and Utah Short Film of the Year at the 17th annual Fear No Film portion of the Utah Arts Festival — something that no film has ever done before. Additionally, a short film from the U.S. had not won the festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Best of Show in seven years. It has also won various prizes at other film festivals throughout the country.

Read the full story at tma.byu.edu.

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