From big ideas to the big screen, Moorpark College film students showcased their hard work throughout the semester at PremierFest 2010 at the High Street Arts Center on May 12.
PremierFest co-producer Adam Mulligan felt the festival’s warm atmosphere led to its success.
“It was more of a family atmosphere,” said Mulligan. “Kind of like buddies than professionals and business.”
Students from every Moorpark College film class, from introduction to television studio to broadcast journalism to digital filmmaking, were showcased in a montage of their collective works. The works consisted of a variety of genres, from surrealist dreams and off kilter comedy to cop drama and non-linear suspense. The night led up to the premiere of “Crossing,” the department’s major full length project about controversies of the drug cartel, immigration and the prejudices against immigrants.
Crystal Sloan, a 20-year-old theater major and actor in the short “Hiking with Sarah,” expressed how professional the students have displayed themselves at the festival.
“The hard work, the dedication, the perseverance, these kids have it,” said Sloan. “But they still can have a good time. They have the perfect balance of professionalism, but still enjoying themselves at the same time.”
Though shown for just a snippet of time, each short in the student film montage was worked on throughout the semester. Levels of preparation may vary, according to film student Juan Lara, whose impulse kept him shooting.
“Honestly, I don’t prepare,” said Lara. “I move at the speed at thought—you write something down, you do it, you get it done, you talk to the people, you get things ready, let’s shoot, let’s do it, let’s go.”
Each project was a labor of love, like film student Aubrey Byrne’s entry “True Moorpark Story,” profiling the film department’s advisor Bill Goodman.
“From my own personal projects, that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Byrne. “Since I could do what I want and it was within the department—it was fun for everybody.”
After a 10 minute intermission from the student film montage, “Crossing” made its debut after its short, but strenuous creation. The film was worked on by over 140 people on production, 5 departments working on separate parts of the film and many others, from the dean of department, the dean of the division, department heads and students from all the film classes. Shot on location in Barstow and Apple Valley, “Crossing” deals with two Mexican women, Elena, played by Ilianna Andreade, and Maria, played by Sofia Yepes, crossing the border into the United States, but intersecting paths with two drug smugglers, played by Jeremy Hanes and Caleb Ellis, leading them into something much more dangerous than they expected.
With a runtime of 50 minutes and a hefty production, the professionalism of the film department has exceeded film advisor and “Crossing” producer Ferenc Gutai’s expectations.
“I am so proud because this is the most difficult production we’ve ever done,” said Gutai. “The team came together and we did this. Not one person, but it was an accomplishment of an entire team. We worked together to achieve something that you would see at UCLA.”
“Crossing” director Steven Mallett felt this premiere realized his dreams of seeing his ideas on the big screen and is one step closer to what he wants to do. With this experience, Mallett shared some words of advice to future filmmakers.
“If you want to pursue film, don’t let anyone say that you can’t do it,” said Mallett. “If anyone puts you down, no matter what happens, just get out there and shoot. [Regarding school transfers and the uncertainty of being accepted,] I won’t let a school tell me what I can and cannot do!”
Originally published on May 22, 2010 @ StudentVoiceOnline.com