By Evelyn Garcia
Campus MovieFest made a triumphant return to Cal Poly Pomona with an Oct. 22 finale in Ursa Minor at the Bronco Student Center.
The top 16 films were shown to invited guests, family members, friends and any student who wanted to join in and watch the student created films. The event featured food, drinks, prizes, live performances and a red carpet where attendees took photos.
Michael Sakhel, a second-year communication student, attended the screening event to take a break from homework and support the student filmmakers.
“I think I found most interesting that this festival is known everywhere and there’s just so much opportunity for film makers even around the world to get their films noticed and to get on a bigger screen, and I think that’s great for people who want to pursue film,” said Sakhel.
At the end of the night, the top four Jury Award winning films were announced: “The Secret Formula to Happiness” by Simon Ona’s Crew, “With Strings Attached: The Three He Played” by Adrian Manila’s Crew, “Good Morning” by Kimchi Slap Production and “Playing Games” by Lightly Seared Productions.
These four films will now move on to the next stage of Campus MovieFest, which allows the students to compete on a national level at Terminus, a weekend event in Atlanta, Georgia.
All four films ranged in theme, some with a thought provoking storyline, others more light-hearted.
One such film was “Good Morning,” a film centered around a male protagonist who gets ready to start his day but quickly realizes that someone is lurking behind him. The end of the film reveals that it was Anton the Bear, a stuffed bear that stares at him face to face.
“Playing Games,” the thought provoking film of the night, delivered the hit line, “A relationship without trust is like a phone without service. What do you do on a phone when you don’t have service? You start playing games.”
The audience reacted in unison to the line, which drew the film about deception, heartbreak and trust to an end.
The leading actress in the film, Kayla Macias, won a Silver Tripod award for best performance, giving her the opportunity to attend the national event as well.
The Silver Tripod award for Best Director went to Adrian Manila of “With Strings Attached.” This film pleased the crowd and jury alike, winning one of the Jury Awards.
“With Strings Attached” depicts the stages of a relationship through the eyes of instruments and features an original score, written by Manila. He used different instruments to represent specific stages of a relationship.
“I came up with a bunch of symbolism. Like for a ukulele, you know how it’s small and it’s very cutesy, so that’s the beginning of the relationship,” said Manila. “And then as the relationship matures, it transforms into a guitar and the guitar is bigger, it’s more complex.”
When discussing his inspiration and how he hopes the film resonated with the audience, Manila said, “I guess the takeaway is like, life won’t be perfect. It’s going to suck at some points.”
Manila concluded with a sentiment of encouragement, stating that people should follow their passions to make life a little less unpleasant.
Zacary Lovelace, the Atlanta tour manager for Campus MovieFest, stressed how important it is for students to express their passion for film through CMF, explaining why the film festival is a great opportunity for students to showcase their talents.
“Opportunities never come just out of thin air,” said Lovelace. “It always comes either with a person or an organization, and so I hold that near and dear to my heart.”
April Castro, a student programming assistant and fourth-year architecture student, agreed. According to Castro, she decided to reach out to CMF and have them return to give a chance to students who typically don’t participate in events like this, or who do not usually step out of their comfort zones.
“If we can provide it for them to give them the opportunity to express their creativity, then by all means, [“] we’ll do our best to, and that’s how we got Campus Moviefest,” said Castro.
Secret Formulato Happiness
One student who had been waiting for an opportunity like this is Simon Ona, a fourth-year marketing management student. His film, “Secret Formula to Happiness,” is the fourth film that made it to the top four Jury Award winning category.
Ona’s film about what it means to be truly happy and how to get there featured drone shots over the Philippines and no dialogue, giving the audience the chance to truly delve into the film and its theme.
Ona explained that for himself, happiness is all about experiences. His film allows one to live in the moment, even if just for those five minutes.
“It’s not actually the places I went to that made me happy. It’s the person I’m with. It’s, you know, the travel,” said Ona. “You can only experience happiness if you’re living in the moment.”
Campus MovieFest presents a rare opportunity for students on campus to be a part of something they are passionate about and to showcase their talents in more ways than one. Lovelace was enthusiastic about what he hopes students got out of this experience.
“I hope that they walk away with a greater understanding of their own limits and their own abilities and their own potential,” said Lovelace. “I think that’s also what CMF wants too, is for kids to be able to realize the potential themselves and to notice that film is a really important medium.”
Albert Muro / The Poly Post
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