UT Alum Wins $100,000 Grand Prize At Doorpost Film Festival (Watch)

The winners of the Doorpost Film ProjectFilmmaker Bradley Jackson, BS ’07, Life Member, has won the grand prize in the 2010 Doorpost Film Project for his short film, The Man Who Never Cried.

Last year, Jackson finished as a runner-up, and going into this year he says he was determined not to fall short again. He drove to L.A. for the screening and ceremony, optimistic but apprehensive.

“I put almost everything I had emotionally into it,” Jackson says, “and I was going to feel let down if we didn’t win.”

To get to the final four, Jackson had made a seven-minute film entitled I Love You, Will Smith, which was one of 20 selected from 600 submissions. Then he submitted the script for The Man Who Never Cried, and it was picked along with three others from the remaining 20 to receive $40,000 to make.

Together with producers Russell Graves and Andrew Lee, and cinematographer Rick Diaz, Jackson shot The Man Who Never Cried in six days in and around Austin. They landed Keir O’Donnell for the lead actor role, who played the creepy brother in Wedding Crashers, and Jess Weixler as leading lady.

The story follows a clown who makes people laugh for a living and who is, himself, unable to cry. He submits himself to all sorts of emotional and physical pain, all in the perverse hope of drawing a single tear, but to no avail.

Until he meets a girl. I’ll let you watch the rest yourself below.

At a screening weeks ago at the Alamo Drafthouse, Jackson said he based the character on his father, whom he had never seen cry despite the recent death of two family members. Then one day, the family came home to find their dog had died and his dad just lost it.

After shooting the film, Jackson and his crew took a few months to edit and correct the sound, but by December the film and the three other finalists were put online and the voting — and waiting — began.

At L.A.’s Raleigh Theater Feb. 9, Jackson finally heard what he’d been wanting to hear for two years — his movie’s name called.

The Man Who Never Cried won the grand prize, selected by seven industry heavyweights, as well as the audience’s choice award, best editing, best actress, best screenplay, and best director.

“My reaction was more shock and relief than immediate joy,” Jackson says. “It didn’t really hit until the next day when I woke up with the weight off my shoulders.”

With the $100,000 he gets for being the judges’ choice, and the additional $10,000 awarded for being the audience’s choice, he hopes to graduate to making feature films.

Later that week, after at a meeting at the Sony studio lot, Jackson was walking to his car when he rounded the corner to find none other than Will Smith.

“He was bounding toward me,” Jackson says, “looking exactly like he’d stepped off an action movie set.”

Jackson didn’t say anything, though he did follow Smith around at a distance for a while. If he was thinking anything it was probably, I love you, Will Smith.

Photo courtesy of Bradley Jackson

Watch the full movie:


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