By ML Ball (October/November 2018, Edition 28)
Photos: The Art Effect
To make it big in film, you need passion, drive, a unique vision and an incredible work ethic. It also helps to have a lucky break.
In Max Von der Horst’s case, he has all four, plus the lucky break. A recent graduate of Warwick Valley High School and The Art Effect’s intense 12-week Senior Project, Max is on his way to Los Angeles next spring, having been accepted to the USC School of Cinematic Arts. (Notable alumni: George Lucas, Ron Howard and Shonda Rhimes.)
If you’re serious about filmmaking, USC or NYU are the places to go, and this year The Art Effect is sending graduates to both: Max to USC, and Tariq Gordon to NYU. (You can read Tariq’s story in the June/July issue of OHV.) So what exactly is going on there at The Art Effect?
According to Max, a whole lot. Originally interested in animation, he was introduced to The Art Effect by a friend when he was a high school freshman. “I did a summer session in the Character Design program, and later got into painting and then film,” he said. “But the thing I fell in love with most was Todd’s philosophies [Todd Poteet, Director of The Art Effect]. I’ve learned so much more than just drawing, painting and film. I’ve learned some life lessons as a result of the time I’ve spent with Todd, because he’s more than just an artist and a teacher, but a mentor. You can talk with him for hours about philosophies, artistic ideas or personal issues, and he’s there to help.”
Max describes The Art Effect as a tight-knit, family-like community, a very comfortable environment where young people can explore what they want to express in their artwork.
For his Senior Project thesis, Max wrote, directed and produced 12 short surrealistic films based on Carl Jung’s concept of individuation. “In simple terms, individuation is a union between the conscious and unconscious minds to form the fully developed Self,” Max explained. “When I was making my films, I was in a really rough point in my life, so I used art as a therapeutic way to cope with what was happening around me.”
When asked if he would be on his way to USC film school without The Art Effect’s support through the years, Max’s response was immediate. “Not at all, not even a little bit. I owe everything to The Art Effect. Without it, my intellectual and artistic curiosities wouldn’t have been stimulated in such a rich way, and without the guidance of the teachers helping me down the path of finding my own voice, I wouldn’t be the artist I am today.”
For more information about The Art Effect, visit FeelTheArtEffect.org. █