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Student films showcased at festival

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Aryn Plax
Editor in Chief

Of the 10 student films Don Pollock, professor of communications, submitted to the Inland Empire Media Academy International Film Festival, eight were showcased Saturday and Sunday at San Bernardino Valley College.

The event, previously called the Inland Empire Media Academy Student Film Festival, shows film projects made by students in high school, undergraduate, and graduate programs, and is organized by Diane M. Dusick, professor of television and film at San Bernardino Valley College.

“This year, Professor Dusick is retiring, so she wanted to go out with a bang,” Pollock said. “So she made the festival much bigger, and made it into an international festival. I wanted to support her and efforts, so we submitted 10 films for the festival, and they were kind enough to pick eight of them for screening.”

Three senior projects, “Pathways,” “Careless Deeds,” and “He’s My Best Friend,” by senior broadcast majors Marc Salomon, Daniel Romero, and sophomore broadcast major Tina Sanchez; two PSA style films, “Phone Zombie” by sophomore broadcast major Nathan Keeler, junior communications major Jesica Bi, and junior broadcast major Tre Pogue, and “Listen” by sophomore broadcast and political science major Billy Lopez, and sophomore broadcast majors Alyssa Munoz and Ashley Sayas; and two documentaries by senior broadcast majors Edward Romero, Jacqueline Hall, Daisy Fuentes, and Andrea Leiva, were shown Saturday.

A senior project, “Under Control” by 2017 broadcast alumni Steve Rodgers and Shanyn McFadden, senior Sahvannah Henry and junior Florencia Schinoff was shown Sunday and submitted to win a prize.

Romero worked with Hall, Fuentes, and Leiva on “St. Vincent de Paul,” about a Catholic volunteer organization that assists the homeless, and “Alf Museum,” about the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont.

“With ‘St. Vincent de Paul,’ Don thought we really had something here,” Romero said. “After it was done, I was still editing and perfecting it, even after the class assignment was due. With ‘Alf Museum,’ [Don’s decision to submit it] kinda caught me by surprise.”

Romero said that the organization, St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles, had reached out to Pollock and requested that a film be made for them.

Borrowing some footage from the organization, which they acquired the permissions for, and using footage that the student team filmed themselves, Romero, Hall, Fuentes, and Leiva compiled a video about the organization’s purpose, the circumstances surrounding Circle V Ranch Camp, and featured an interview with Robert Fleming, president of St. Vincent De Paul Society at Holy Name of Mary Conference of Charity.

Lopez, Munoz, and Sayas’ “Listen” depicted a fictional story of a teenager who, after being bullied in school and dealing with her parents’ divorce, contemplated suicide. The last shot featured the teenage actor emptying a bottle of pills before fading to black, after which a suicide hot-line is displayed.

“I did some research prior to writing it, and saw that teen suicides were increasing, and I looked at what were the main indicators,” Lopez said. “A big thing that I saw was that they didn’t have an outlet, whether that meant they didn’t try, or they did try, and no one was willing to listen.”

Pogue said that he, Keeler, and Bi, who worked on “Phone Zombie” for their Spring 2018 Intermediate class, had considered making a PSA about suicide or drug prevention before settling on the idea of phone use in public.

“I kind of came up with this idea because of all the recent technology and younger generations using phones so much,” Pogue said.

Pogue said that the team had primarily focused on the shots, and that much of the script was improvised.

Actors Oceano Marshall, sophomore communications major, Hannah Morelos, sophomore sociology major, Maya Morelos, senior business administration major and Annie Ho, sophomore broadcast major reenacted a scene of three girls unwittingly dying in a car accident after taking a selfie in the middle of the road.

“I think one of the big things that these festivals do is it builds self-confidence,” Pollock said. “[They think] ‘somebody besides my mother thinks that my work is good,’ so that’s really important, and it’s important to be in a festival to have your work recognized that way.”

“Pathways” and “Careless Deeds” won best dramatic film feature and best dramatic film short at the Alliance for Community Media WAVE awards this March in Sacramento. Pollock and Shane Rodrigues, the radio and television department’s operations manager, won best local performance for their taping of Bonita Pop Show 2017.

The films can be viewed at vimeo.com/lvtv3.

Aryn Plax can be reached at aryn.plax@laverne.edu.

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