Their classroom serves as a kind of production house.
"He's the best teacher. He has helped me learn all that I know about graphic design, animation and digital illustration," said Lauren Cantrel, a senior who will pursue those skills in college.
Cantrel's short film, "Watch Your Step," which is about a father who steps on one of his son's Legos, won the best overall film and best animation at the school's Film Fest last year. She and other students also are preparing for this year's event at the Alamo Drafthouse in May.
Villarreal said he always tells their families, "If you really want to know what's going on in your child's mind … you're going to see their most creative work up on that screen."
He said some films are funny and others are sad.
"Some of them are passionate documentaries about somebody close to them and their family that they really want to spotlight," Villarreal said.
"I like to really give them an open field as to what they want to make and just let their creativity run," Villarreal said.
In addition to films, Villarreal said his students also create commercials and graphics for use at school and in the community.
Whatever they choose to do, students such as Cantrel said they value Villarreal's support and pride in their work.
Villarreal said watching them cultivate their skills and apply for colleges to further their careers "is kind of like one of those proud dad moments."
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