Finn (left) and Oliver Cross starred in their short film, "The Shootout at Tres Pinos." Submitted photo
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If there’s one thing the shelter-in-place order has proven, it’s the fact that people can be creative without ever leaving their homes.

That creativity can be shared throughout the world. Whether it’s musicians performing live on social media, or artists hosting virtual paint parties, there is plenty people can do with their electronic devices as they wait for the world to return to normal.

With schools moving into students’ homes, families have more opportunities to be together and find ways to not only pass the time, but have fun doing so.

The Cross family of Tres Pinos did just that.

The family competed in the nationwide Tap Into Film: Slam the Curve 72-hr Family Film Slam, put on by East Coast-based organizations Catamount Arts and SOCAPA (School of Creative and Performing Arts).

Competing teams had to script, shoot and edit their short films in 72 hours, incorporate surprise prompts, and shoot their films without leaving their household properties.

The Cross family entered The Shootout at Tres Pinos, a Western film that follows an outlaw who becomes the town sheriff.

Twin brothers Oliver and Finn Cross, who turn 14 next month, took the lead on the project.

Oliver, who played the main character as well as the villain in the all-family cast, said it was the first time the brothers had entered into a film contest. He admitted receiving the randomly selected western genre “stumped” the brothers, but it worked out in the end.

“It was really fun to make,” he said.

Finn said that although the competition was three days, the Crosses only had two days to finish as the family had to be somewhere else on the third day. They quickly turned around the film from concept to filming, editing well into the night on the second day.

“The first day we were coming up with ideas, throwing around things,” he said. “The next day we finally came up with something that sounded OK, and we shot the whole film.”

The Shootout at Tres Pinos was filmed on a smartphone and edited with iMovie.

While the film didn’t win an award, the exercise reinforced the passion the Cross twins have for filmmaking. Both said they are interested in a career as a Disney Imagineer.

“I’ve always had an interest in filmmaking,” Finn said. “Writing a story and seeing it play out in real life is really cool.”

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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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