Freelance filmmaker Alyssa Botelho, a Fairhaven High School and University of Rhode Island graduate, was at a loss for words to find out her latest short film To Dust All Return won two college-level Emmys from the prestigious National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Boston Division.

"The film was my last college project, and my last chance to win as a student," Botelho said. "In high school, all my friends would be bringing home first place wins and all I'd get was honorable mention after honorable mention. So throughout college, I kept trying, and when I heard that I won two Emmys, I was shocked!"

Courtesy Alyssa Botelho
Courtesy Alyssa Botelho
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"It was actually my high school media teacher, Mr. Drew Furtado, who texted me and said, 'Hey look at this!'" she said.

What's different today for the filmmaker is the reality that it's not as easy making a movie as she once thought it would be.

"The hell you have to go through is startling," Botelho said. "It's a lot – and I mean a lot – of rough times and hard work, but I believe in myself and in my ideas."

Nick Doyle, Used With Permission
Nick Doyle, Used With Permission
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Botelho said she loves to read, and she's had a penchant for adventure stories since early childhood when she'd bring home stacks of books.

"I think my mom waited until I was one week old before getting me a Millicent Library card," she said. "I love adventure and fantasy stories, and I'm really drawn to creating a tale in a different time period. I like transporting people into different time periods, in a film that's different, with maybe a psychological thriller twist to it."

Nick Doyle, Used With Permission
Nick Doyle, Used With Permission
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Botelho wants to meet and pick the brain of former New Bedford resident and Academy Award-winning screenplay writer Brian Helgeland, known for writing the screenplays for L.A. Confidential, Mystic River, 42 and Legend. His work on L.A. Confidential earned him the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

"His example is like a mentor for me," Botelho said. "My dream is to accomplish what Brian Helgeland has mastered."

Nick Doyle, Used With Permission
Nick Doyle, Used With Permission
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When it comes to future projects, Botelho said she's reading a lot of interesting things about a famous visitor to Fairhaven, Mark Twain. Doing something about this unprecedented American writer and humorist intrigues Botelho and piques her creativity.

She said she is also "tossing around the idea of starting a local writing group, and if anyone is interested in fictional writing, reach out to me on my Facebook page or at AABothelho13@gmail.com."

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