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Waldorf professor brings ‘The Hatman’ to your home

“The Hatman” movie poster announcing upcoming film festivals debuts.

By Diana Stetson

Waldorf University Professor Carlos Ruiz is set to premiere his short film “The Hatman” at various film festivals around the U.S.

Carlos’ passion for movies came at a young age.

“I have always loved movies, ever since I can remember,” he states, although he had no idea that his love of film would someday turn into a love for filmmaking.

Carlos had always been into the arts: painting, drawing and photography until his senior year of high school.

“I took a class called film literature and my understanding was that it was a throw-away class for seniors. You just get to watch movies and write a paper on it, but my teacher was different. She would actually make us work, and I loved every second of it,” Carlos said.

It wasn’t until his freshman year of college when he was sick in his dorm watching “The Shining” on Netflix when he realized what his true calling is.

“When I watched the movie alone in the dark I was absolutely terrified. I’ve watched the movie over a hundred times, and it still terrifies me today. But it was after that movie that gave me confirmation that this is exactly what I need to do. Not want, but I absolutely needed to do this with my life. To make movies and tell stories from any capacity. I’ve loved it ever since,” adds Carlos.

To his credit, Carlos has made a number of films. His previous film, a tragedy called “The Other Side” and his feature film when he graduated from Waldorf University called “Rise of the Sea Urchins”, are only a few of the films that have led to his latest movie “The Hatman,” which made its Waldorf campus debut on Sept. 20, alongside “Jane,” a horror film directed by student Mitchell Keeran.

“I loved the movie. Probably my favorite movie that he has ever made. Not just because I helped, but because I think it’s a really good film. The idea was spot on what he was going after. I like seeing it on the big screen,” says Bela Ruiz, Carlos’ younger sister who wore many hats during the making of “The Hatman” as a grip and as a part of the sound crew.

“It’s always really weird watching your own movie up on the big screen, like it’s really cool at the same time,” states Carlos. “But for me, it’s just this really weird feeling. Knowing that there are people in the audience that are watching your work and you have no idea how they are going to react to it. At the same time, it’s kind of cool and exciting that they are watching your work. So, it’s kind of a little bit of nervousness, but yet excitement along with it.”

“The Hatman” has been accepted into Produce Iowa’s Halloween Film Lounge and will be shown on Iowa Public Television, premiering on Halloween, as well as to the Snake Alley Festival of Film in Burlington, Iowa, and Halloweenapoalooza out of Ottumwa. Currently, Carlos is waiting to hear back from the ISA film showcase in Des Moines, Telluride Horror show in Colorado, The Chandler International Film Fest, and the Muscatine film fest.

Scheduled for November, he will be working as the director of photography for a film called “The Eidolon Inquest” with a director named Mikeal Burgin out of Cedar Rapids. In the meantime, Carlos will be busy working on his thesis for his Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting, as well as writing another feature film.

What are the future aspirations for the young filmmaker?

“I definitely shoot high. That is something that my mom Alejandra Orban, has always taught us, kids. Shoot high, higher than you even think you can even achieve. Long term: I really, really hope to work towards winning an Oscar one day, which is a very, very long way down the road, but that is where I want my career to go.”