Military veteran and other Florida filmmakers’ works officially selected for West Texas festival

Iron Freedom Foundation photo for film A Devils River Story
Cameron Cushman’s films like ‘A Devils River Story’ illustrate the benefits of outdoor activities as therapeutic. (Snip: Iron Freedom Foundation)

The West Texas Film Festival announced Florida filmmakers’ works will be included in selections for the 2019 festival in Odessa Nov. 21-23. The festival, in its fourth year, showcases works that have the “pioneer spirit of filmmaking.” Among the Floridians whose works will be shown is a military veteran who is an enthusiastic outdoorsman and believes nature can be therapeutic.

Cameron Cushman lives in Vero Beach. He is a filmmaker and avid fly fisherman who spends the majority of his time on the water or with his family. He took to fly fishing while stationed in Alaska serving as an Army infantryman. Once Cushman put the conventional gear behind him, he jumped head first into the fly fishing world.

Cushman recently finished an 8,000 mile trek across the country in search of various native species with a focus on Cutthroat. His short film, Chasing Natives, has been a huge success since its release, and he plans on turning that into a web-based series with each episode being about chasing an individual species in its native range. He currently is working with the Native Fish Coalition on their advisory council helping out with social media and future video projects.

Something many people don’t know about him is that Cameron suffers from a chronic disease known as Gastroparesis, which in simple terms means that his stomach is paralyzed and doesn’t function properly. This causes a whole mess of internal complications. Fly fishing for Cameron is not only a passion and way of life but a medicine to him. He lives by the quote “Passion over Pain,” as he believes that whether he is stuck in a bed or on the water, the pain isn’t going anywhere and pushing through it to follow his passions is a must.

Cushman’s film, A Devils River Story, featured by the Iron Freedom Foundation, enables the viewer to follow the IFF crew and eight veterans down the beautiful and wild Devils River in Texas. The IFF provides veterans with a support community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts with the means and the personal confidence necessary to go forth and achieve, not only their goals, but those around them.

Three other Florida filmmakers are included in the festival’s official selections.

Christina Christie, a 3D artist and animator based in Orlando, directed the short film Tiffany. The film’s main character, Pauline, is packing away her late grandmother’s effects, and she discovers a stained glass sculpture has come alive. As lights in her house go out, Pauline realizes the joy in celebrating the legacy of those who have passed on.

Carlos Mejia and Kevin Barwick’s film Serendipity tackles fears over relationships. The primary character Gordon doesn’t want to freeze during his dinner date. He has good reason to be nervous—Gordon has snakes for hair with a bad habit of turning people into stone. If you see similarities to the Greek myth of Medusa, a Gorgon, you’ll likely find this contemporary twist even more intriguing. Will Gordon find true love, or will his dinner date turn out badly?

Harlan Whatley, director of the West Texas Film Festival, said the films “were highly rated by our judges during the screening process, and are sure to be a big hit at the 2019 WTX Film Fest.”

Jared Rush, who heads up Third Man Entertainment in Jacksonville (FL), and who has been a driving force in indie films in that city, is serving as vice-president of the West Texas Film Festival.

(Kay B. Day/November 19, 2019; article sources include news release and announcements from WTX Film Fest)

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