By Zara Hurtado
A camera pans across a dark park showing images of the homeless sleeping on benches, or gathered in groups.
A woman’s voice narrates the scene, recounting the time police officers threw away her mother’s ashes.
This isn’t a scene from a Sundance documentary, this is the work of Cal Poly Pomona students.
Manshaan Singh, first-year environmental biology student, and Kanwar Bir Singh, fourth-year mechanical engineer student decided to lend their passion for storytelling and create a short documentary for Campus MovieFest titled, “Trash or Treasure: Humanizing the Homeless.”
“Basically, we made a documentary on the lives of the homeless, and how people perceive them and who they really are,” Kanwar Bir Singh said. “We’re trying to break the stereotypes and show that the homeless are just one of us.”
This year, 296 Cal Poly Pomona students participated in CMF, from acting on screen to directing behind the camera.
Students were given one week to create their unique shorts using Panasonic equipment and Adobe Creative Cloud, all courtesy of the CMF team.
Many students were drawn to participate in the competition, whether it was for the prizes or the opportunity to put their passion project onto a screen.
“[CMF] had a table set up outside the BSC, and the first time I visited the table, I just gathered information on what to do but at the time, I wasn’t sure I would be a good fit for making a movie,” Kanwar Singh said.
Filmmakers walked away from the week-long experience with professional filmmaking skills as well as lasting insights on their daily interactions with others.
“The stuff they had to say was really powerful,” Manshaan Singh said. “It made you feel like anyone could be in this situation. I didn’t have any prejudice against them, but after hearing them you really can’t judge them.”
The premiere was held Friday, Nov. 17 at the BSC, Ursa Major.
Doors opened at 7 p.m. for students to walk the CMF red carpet, mingle with moviegoers and enjoy a tater tot bar, and a performance from The Pilipino Notes, Barkada’s a cappella group.
The night began with a competition for best dressed audience member, as well as interactive Twitter contests and raffle prizes throughout the night.
Former ASI President Uriah Sanders hosted the premiere alongside a CMF representative who kept the laughs coming all night long with witty quips and even a roast of the hosts.
Students did not have to submit their films under specific categories, however, strong themes throughout the night included heartbreak, young love and social media reliance.
Memorable entries included “Kicked Out of Chinatown,” “Into the Wild Millennial” and “Momentum,” with the latter two winning a Jury Prize and Viewer’s Choice award.
A Silver Tripod award was given to Adrian Acosta for his performance in “Living the Dream,” a short following a homeless youth imagining a better life for him.
The four Jury Winners went to “The Wild Millennial,” “Living the Dream,” If I Could” and “Trash or Treasure: Humanizing the Homeless.”
Winners of the Jury award will get to compete at the TERMINUS Conference and Festival in Atlanta, GA.
“The event itself is really cool because there are so many students with so much potential and maybe they will end up finding their talent and will later bring it to a large scale, like Hollywood,” said Singh.
Created by four Emory University students back in 2001, the traveling film festival offers students the chance to explore the inner workings of the film industry while creating their own five minute short film to showcase for their campus.
Anthony Carrillo / The Poly Post
Students had the opportunity to walk the red carpet to take pictures and network
Anthony Carrillo / The Poly Post
The event provided students with a professional filmmaking experience
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