Around F.C., Arts & Entertainment

Mason Grad Takes 1st Place at Texas Union Film Festival

Max Kaplow (center) during production of his 1st place short film,"The Date." (Photo: Bita Ghassemi)
Max Kaplow (center) during production of his 1st place short film,”The Date.” (Photo: Bita Ghassemi)

Max Kaplow, a 2012 graduate of George Mason High School, won the Jury Award 1st Place at the Texas Union Film Festival for his short film, “The Date.” The Texas Union Film Festival is a short film competition for undergraduates and graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin.

Kaplow played baseball at George Washington University (class of 2016) and is now earning a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin, a top 10 film school with one of the best writing programs in the nation.

“The Date,” Kaplow says, was a project for one of his first semester classes, “Production Workshop for Writers.” The class was essentially an “intensive crash course in the production process” so that he and his “cohort” (which included five other MFA screenwriters) could develop their scripts for the screen.

Kaplow describes the process of making a film: “An author I admire had been described as, ‘writing at the speed of thought,’ and I began to wonder what ‘cinema at the speed of thought’ might look like. I wanted to do something cerebral with characters sort of inside their own heads and defined by their compulsive thinking. Although I had this in mind I still needed to lend it to a story and write a script. I ran with the whole heady, psychological thing and came up with this notion of how the anxieties and fears we often have, that I certainly have, tend to make us feel like we’re the only ones feeling anxious or scared.

“This felt like a good basis for a young couple’s first date and all the nerves and fears and insecurities that go with it. I really took to the idea of their anxieties driving the story, it seemed more engaging and entertaining and a better way of visualizing how inadequate they feel; to make the internal, external. It’s also more cinematic because the cut between characters is what really tells the story. This led to the idea of having them running through the date on each of their respective ends without ever actually being on it.

“I wanted to do something narratively unconventional, but in a way that brought the audience deeper into the story. If there’s anything I’m hoping audiences will be left with after seeing “The Date” it’s that the fears we have actually unite us, that maybe if there is one thing bringing us all together it’s how alone we all feel.”

“The Date” can be viewed at