Student Academy Awards

Jun 5

Meet Mark Raso

Mark Raso - Columbia University - Narrative Winner


From Toronto, Mark Raso got into filmmaking at the age of 8 when his brother bought a video camera.  They made shorts (edited in camera, of course) and fell in love with the whole filmmaking process.  Partially due to sneaking into certain films coming out in his early teens (“Unforgiven,” “In the Name of the Father,” “Forrest Gump,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Schindler’s List”), Mark knew that he wanted to be involved in film— he just wasn’t sure in what capacity.

Columbia University

Mark had a great time at Columbia, which allowed him the time to grow and find his voice in an environment where he was surrounded by with supportive, talented students and professors.  The most crucial lesson Mark learned was the importance of hard work.  He found that all the people who seemed “naturally talented” were simply the hardest working ones.


Mark read a newspaper article about a series of avalanche fatalities.  This made him imagine what it would be like trapped under snow dying with his wife and the idea for “Under” was born.  The film was written, shot, and edited over a difficult six month period.  The hardest part was pre-production.  Since it would cost too much to film in the mountains or rent a studio, Mark and his crew had to get creative.  They employed green screen, stop motion animation, and matching stock footage to create the avalanche and mountains.  For the trapped-under-snow scenes, they built a box in Mark’s grandfather’s garage and filled it with real snow.  Specialty lenses and great acting conveyed a claustrophobic and trapped feeling.

What’s Next?

Mark is going to be shooting a micro-budget feature in Copenhagen, Denmark this summer.  He also has scripts for film and television that he’d like to start pushing through the system.

Check out more from Mark Raso and the production company that made “Under.”

And check out a clip from “Under.”