National Film Festival for Talented Youth | Seattle Youth Film Festival | Student Film Festival


Reflection by Thomas Molina Jr.

Film of the Week

Backstage before a big performance, a young dancer struggles with her self doubt and negativity. She finds herself face to face with a side of herself she has never seen before. Will she overcome the biggest obstacle she has ever had to face…herself?

Reflection was an official selection of NFFTY 2013 and won the Audience Award in the category of Musical Masterpiece

Film of the Week is presented by Volvo Cars of North America.

Reflection (official short film) from TMJfims on Vimeo.

About the Director:

Thomas Molina Jr. is a 24-year-old award winning filmmaker from Silverdale, Washington. He graduated from The Los Angeles Film School at the age of 20 with a degree in film and an emphasis on directing and editing. Since graduation he has been back and forth between California and Washington working on many independent short films and music videos. Thomas plans to have his first feature under his belt in the next few years.

You can view more of his work and his director reel at

NFFTY speaks to Thomas to find out about the pursuit of his dreams.

Q: What inspired you to pursue this topic? Have you ever been in such a situation yourself?

Definitely, but not to such an extreme. My family and friends are really supportive unlike in the film, but there are times when I look in the mirror and question myself. Shouldn’t I be so much further in my career? Am I not as good as everyone else? And I think that a lot of young artists can relate to that concept when they are trying to break through and make a name for them selves. That is another reason why NFFTY is such an awesome opportunity because it gives young artists an outlet to show their work, meet other people in the same boat, and grow. The main thing I wanted people to take away from this short was no matter how much negativity surrounds you and gets in your head at the end of the day the only person who can stop you from achieving greatness is yourself.

Q: I love the mirror scene. Was it tough shooting that scene? 

Oh thank you. I was super excited about that scene and I knew it would be the most visual part of the short so I needed a really good production designer. I got my former classmate and friend Vanessa Augustin on board. I told her the look I was going for and she killed it! Come set day our gaffer, Wilson Brocatto, got it set up in a quickness and our DP and Camera Ops Alexis Mendez, Irving Auguiano and Lyvell Gipson were able to find little pockets where they couldn’t be seen while shooting it. I think the most difficult part about that scene was that we saved it for the end of the shoot, So it was the second day of shooting all through the night and every one was tired and barely able to keep their eyes open, but my producer Jose Hawkins managed to keep everyone on track and we knocked it all out and got the shots we needed. It was defiantly a team effort and I couldn’t have done it without the awesome cast and crew.

Q: The film took on a darker approach instead of a typical, light-hearted inspiring one. What made you decide to go this way? 

From the first time I thought about this concept it had a very dark vibe to it. Before I wrote the short I already knew what song I wanted to use and what Choreographer I wanted to be in it. The song (Calm before the storm – Aaron Ventura) had a dark feeling to it that I really liked and wanted to utilize. When I stumbled upon Lizzie Wicks’ youtube channel she had a very different style, one of her own. She wasn’t doing a whole lot of girly girl “hip hop” choreography. She had an edgy, grimy, yet still feminine approach to her videos. I knew she could take on the darker role but no one was on her level in my eyes to dance along side her, so from that blossomed the idea of mirrors and using her reflection as a character. The darker approach really came from a mixture of the track Aaron had put together, Lizzie’s style, and the story I wanted to tell.

Q: What was the most memorable thing about NFFTY for you? 

NFFTY is awesome for so many reasons and it’s hard to pin point the most memorable thing. But I must say the day-to-day experience was unforgettable as a whole. Waking up early for networking events, then spending the whole day in a theater with other filmmakers and finishing up the night with a party to celebrate and meet the people behind the films you had just watched, there is nothing like it. I got to meet so many other passionate filmmakers from around the world that I would’ve never met had it not been for NFFTY. I will admit having my name called for my first ever award, as a director is a moment I will never forget.

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