Big Brain 2012 Finalist: Victor Moreno

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You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives and the results are in. Introducing our Big Brain 2012 Finalists.

Leading up to the Big Brain Award awards announcement and celebration on April 7Chow Bella and Jackalope Ranch will introduce the finalists.

Up today: Victor Moreno

Victor Moreno remembers sneaking across the street from his parents' house outside of Los Angeles to rent as many B-list movies as he could get his hands on. He saved his money and rented two or three at a time, each for 50 to 75 cents. In a few years, he'd gone through the video rental shop's inventory.

Moreno's a proud film buff and can easily talk shop about what's coming out next week as well as what was coming out of Japan in the late '70s. When he moved to Phoenix, he renamed half of its destinations after movie and television references (Liberty Market is Mayberry; Paradise Valley is 90210).

And when he finally put his movie obsession together with his love for design, he says it all kind of clicked. 

Moreno, 33, comes from a family of lawyers and moved to Phoenix to go to the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. He'd always been interested in art and film, and taught himself design, but was told (kindly) by his parents that he had to go to real school and get a real job to support his passion.

He spent the next three years designing websites for Sony and MySpace pages for big-name bands to pay for law school.

He met fellow film nerd Andrea Beesley-Brown, who was programming films at the now-defuct Paper Heart in downtown Phoenix. Fast friends, Moreno followed Beesley-Brown to MADCAP Theaters in Tempe and then to The Royale. 

The two worked together on programming events. Beeseley-Brown and Moreno chose the movies, and Moreno started designing limited-edition movie posters for each event.

He says he designs each poster after watching the movie (more than) a few times and can usually pick out a character or scene that sticks out. 

He'll then either hand illustrate or use design software on his computer to compose the scene in a way that usually differs from the movie's original poster - and would be something he'd want to hang on his own wall.

The posters became as popular as the ticket sales, and soon Moreno brought other local designers on board. 

When The Royale closed in December, Beeseley-Brown took a break and Moreno took his operation back to MADCAP where he currently heads up Cult Classics, a monthly screening of a cult film, with entertainment and limited-edition prints.

So far, Moreno's screened and designed works for Gremlins, Life Aquatic, and Battle Royale (to name a few) and has big plans for Labrynth next month. 

He says he hopes the events will bring some fresh air into Mill Avenue and introduce film junkies to designers and both to anyone who happens to be looking for visual entertainment in Tempe.

Since his freelance design and film programming career have taken off, Moreno says his parents are warming up to the idea of not having another lawyer in the family.

"It's not everyday a theater gives you the opportunity to watch your favorite movies on the big screen and invite the neighborhood to join," Moreno says. "And I can't help but think that if I'm not bringing cult classics back to the big screen and creating a community event, then that opportunity just goes away."
Meet the finalists on April 7 during our Big Brain celebration, Artopia. And check out the other Big Brain Awards finalists we've profiled so far: 

Visual Art: 
Lindz Lew
Andrew Hadle
Thomas Greyeyes

Jon Ashcroft

Greg Kerr
Ashley Eaton

Performing Art: 
The Torch Theatre

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

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