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Spokane native, Gonzaga soccer alum turned filmmaker Alec Cutter makes Tribeca debut

The Ferris High grad's first independent short film debuted at the world-renowned festival on Thursday.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Alec Cutter, a Spokane native and Gonzaga soccer alum, is now scoring in the film world. 

This past Thursday Cutter debuted his first independent documentary short film, Nando, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. 

Nando follows a small boy who lives in a favela in Rio de Janeiro who dreams of visiting the Maracana, one of soccer’s premiere stadiums in the world.

"The underlying message of this film is that he has never, ever been to the stadium to see a game when he lives a three-minute walk away from the stadium," said Cutter. "A big part of this film is kind of exploring how small their world is. There are kids in this favela in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil who have never seen the beach."

The favelas of Brazil are a far cry from the South Hill streets Alec Cutter grew up on, so much so that it took Alec and his fellow producer seven months to shoot a six-minute short film. That was due to shoot-outs between drug cartels and law enforcement in the Brazilian favelas halting production.

"It’s night and day," said Cutter of comparing his childhood to Nando's. "It’s an interesting thing because the humanity that these kids have. There’s so much beauty within them. That’s a universal thing. Their circumstances are just vastly different."

And so it became Alec’s goal to portray those circumstances and humanity through his lens. 

After graduating Gonzaga, Alec originally went to Brazil to play soccer, then came back stateside to go to film school in New York City. 

It only feels right to him to have his first film be about Brazil and to have that film debut in the city that taught him how to make films in the first place.

"It was always the dream to get into this festival," said Alec of Tribeca. "I’ve spent so much time living here in New York, so it’s kind of a full circle moment that the world premiere of my first independent film would be here in New York and it’s this Brazilian story. It’s the last two worlds I’ve been occupying ever since I graduated from Gonzaga."

His Gonzaga world did have an impact though on the making of this film. 

As the film’s shooter, editor, and co-producer, Alec essentially didn’t pay himself and instead decided to pay it forward. That came in the form of renovating the favela’s school. He credits that spirit, in part, to his days at GU.

"My education from Gonzaga-- I think the most that I took from it was that humanistic aspect. There were so many professors I had that taught me so much more than just the subjects at hand. I think developing that care and that type of lens was definitely enhanced greatly at Gonzaga," said Cutter.

Alec is not only grateful for his alma mater, but also his hometown.

"I always love coming back. The community and everyone has been so supportive. I loved so much growing up in Spokane. I think it’s influenced me in so many ways that I couldn’t even put my finger on," said Cutter.

Now Alec is trying to put his fingerprints on the world, elevating other’s voices one story at a time.

"While I don’t ever want to make light of the harsh realities that do exist in these places, what I hope they (the audience) take is that kids like Nando are in these places. That innocence and those dreams and that purity are in there."

If you’d like to watch Nando, you can go to here and purchase a $25 shorts pass. The film will be available through June 23.