Independent filmmaker Alyssa Botelho, a Fairhaven native and graduate of the University of Rhode Island, is both hopeful and excited that her second short movie will be well received at film festivals here and abroad.

Her latest short movie To Dust All Return will be screened this Friday evening, October 1 at 7 p.m. in the Fairhaven Town Hall auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for this free public event.

"(It) is a tense nine-minute colonial time period piece, set in the early 1700s, that captures the atmosphere of New England during the tense Salem Witch Trials," Botelho said. "The short folk horror film focuses on a young girl who has a deep secret to hide, and a very powerful man who goes to her house to force the secret out of her."

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"The idea for the film originated from my project at URI, where I had to do a short about a girl who finds her strength, during a time period when women were pressed down. "In To Dust All Return, I wanted to do something impressive where she finds herself and her own force," she said.

Botelho first learned about film production in the Fairhaven High School media production program. "One of my greatest influencers was Drew Furtado, the director of the high school program," she said. "He's amazing and such a gem. His inspiration and guidance is why I'm in film now."

She's been making the most of her education and putting it to practical use. During the summer, when some major Hollywood productions were in the area, Botelho received invaluable experience working alongside Kyra Sedgwick, director of Space Oddity.

"For folks who don't know, Kyra is Kevin Bacon's wife," Botelho said. "She's the sweetest. Kyra also showed me that there are many, many moving parts in a Hollywood production, and how everything is under so much pressure."

Botelho had already learned much from the filming of To Dust All Return as well.

"It took two full days in March, when it was beyond freezing, to shoot the film at the Aptucxet Trading Post, a replica of the 17th-century Pilgrim trading post in Bourne," she said. "The acting is brilliant. Bethany Fernandes and I went through over 400 virtual applications, and we chose three stellar actors whose characters will definitely connect with the audience."

As for dispensing any advice to future filmmakers, Botelho kept it simple.

"Yeah, just go for it!" she said.

Check out Alyssa Botelho's first short film, JUNKIE:

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