Graduate student earns Best Short Film award at international film festival
Graduate student Martin Jason Asprey won Best Short Film at the London Shorts Film Awards in May 2021 for his short film, “Bicycle Pump.” The film is an exploration of the father/son relationship and the complexities of how that love can result in abusive behavior.
“Bicycle Pump” was inspired by a story that was told to Asprey about his father, who accosted a man on a bike when he needed a bicycle pump. “I wasn’t actually there…. But the story encapsulated everything I wanted to say about him and by adding myself and the ending I could tell a clear and precise version of what my upbringing was like and what I wanted to say about it,” said Asprey. “I still have an incredible love for him, so I needed an outlet to be able to express myself and my feelings.”
The film’s opening scene is a quote by author and psychiatrist Dr. James Gilligan that states, “The use of violence as a means of resolving conflict between persons, groups, and nations is a strategy we learn first at home.” As director and actor, Asprey placed himself in his father’s shoes to portray the treatment his father imposed on him and the struggles they went through.
As an actor and teacher for the past 20 years, Asprey felt that he was ready to pursue directing as a way to bring his visions to life. “After playing so many parts in plays for other directors, I felt stifled in my creativity, and to be honest, I was getting to the point where I felt I could direct the plays I was in a lot better than the directors I was working with,” he said.
Other awards and recognitions Asprey has received for the short film include an Award of Merit at the Best Shorts Competition in Los Angeles, an Award of Excellence at the Indy Short Fest in Los Angeles and he was a finalist at the Hollywood International Golden Age Festival.
“No matter how much we artists try and pretend that we don’t care about being acknowledged, when we are, it sure feels good,” said Asprey.
Asprey’s next project is to prepare for his thesis production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” which will be performed on one of the two mainstages at the Texas State Performing Arts Center. “As I’ve probably acted in every play in the cannon and I’ve been teaching Shakespeare for the past 20 years, I hope it’s going to be a great production and that everybody will come see it and be my FIRST audience after three years of school,” he said.
Asprey will be graduating in 2022 with a Master of Fine Arts in Directing.