SCUFF's charlie's angels shot

Nope, they're not "Charlie's Angels," Nick Maseun and Nik Rasmussen are among the movie-minded people behind the Sioux City Underground Film Festival. Rasmussen's "Cyber Enforcer" will premiere during the April 7's event at Sioux City's Rivera Theatre.

Some film fans follow the careers of their favorite actors while the truly movie-minded chart the progression of their desired directors.

Nik Rasmussen takes his film fanaticism one step further. He's obsessed with the work of one particular cinematographer.

"I'm a big fan of (cinematographer) Dean Cundey, who frequently worked with (horror director) John Carpenter," Rasmussen said. "In addition, I'd watch movie credits and (Cundey) would often be credited as the cinematographer for those films as well."

Needless to say, Rasmussen takes the art of cinema very seriously.

A graduate of Western Iowa Tech Community College's independent filmmaking program, he is slated to earn a bachelor's degree in mass communications from Morningside College in May.

Rasmussen will also be premiering his film "Cyber Enforcer" -- a self-described "futuristic French noir, science fiction thriller" -- at the Sioux City Underground Film Festival (S.C.U.F.F.) at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. April 7 at the Riviera Theater, 714 Fourth St.

Rasmussen -- the only child of two U.S. Air Force parents -- discovered his film fanaticism at a very young age.

"I was born at the Misawa Air Base (in Misawa, Japan)," he said. "Due to ear infections, I originally had difficulties reading and writing."

Spending his childhood moving from Japan to Europe to the United States, Rasmussen had the opportunity to visit both samurai and medieval castles. In addition, he took an interest in U.S. air shows.

Still, it was his dad's large collection of VHS movies that truly captured his attention.

"During my teen years, I'd be writing stories and experimenting with cameras and sound while my friends would be getting into other normal teenager activities," he said.

It wasn't until Rasmussen became an adult that he discovered a person could make a living making movies.

"When people hear I have a degree in independent filmmaking, they often say 'what good will that do you in real life?'" he said. "(Because of my filmmaking experience), I now possess skills in creative problem solving and the technical abilities (to create) advertising, feature films, lighting and sound mechanics.

"So, when people ask me what good will come from knowing how to use lights, cameras and sound, I say (it gave me a career doing) what I love to do," Rasmussen said.

It also connected Rasmussen to Sioux City's underground film community.

"I'd like to think of the area's independent filmmakers as a group of out-of-the-box thinkers who share a love of turning dreams into reality," he said. "We're all oddballs in society but we're also problem solvers and inventors."

Rasmussen said movies aren't designed to simply entertain. Instead, they can also leave a message.

"The classic 'message' movie is (1968's) 'Planet of the Apes,'" he said. "You may think you're merely watching a science fiction film but it also has important statements to make about racism."

Rasmussen said that's what keeps filmmaking so stimulating. Yet seeing your work on the big screen takes it to an entirely different level.

"That's why I'm so excited about the Sioux City Underground Film Festival,'" he said. "It will be fun seeing how audiences view 'Cyber Enforcer.' It will be even more fascinating to see if the movie leaves an impact on them afterwards."

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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