Some of Sonoma State University’s very own have once again been invited to the largest and most prestigious film festival in the world, the Cannes International Film Festival, to have their short films screened in France this coming May. The three films that will be screened at the festival are “The Vision,” “Slut Man Friends” and “Bobby”. The films range from light and sarcastic, to touching and deeply emotional.
Each of these short films were made during the Campus Movie Fest (CMF), a nationwide filmmaking event that comes to the Sonoma State campus every fall. Students are given one week to write, film, produce, edit and create an entire production from start to finish. All necessary equipment is provided for students by CMF and since Sonoma State is one of the only participating universities without a film program, as Jury Award-winner Anna Luna points out, “we’re lucky to even be considered for this competition.”
The two groups are hoping to attend Cannes Film Festival in order to gain recognition and rub elbows with some of the industry’s most elite. Cannes is internationally recognized as on of the most prestigious and well-known event in the film industry.
Luna is a graduating senior Communications and Media Studies major, andmade her directorial debut with her touching short film “Bobby,” which gives the audience a first-person perspective of what it feels like to grow up gay in a less than accepting household. This theme is particularly culturally relevant and near to Luna’s heart, as the story is based on one of her own family members.
“A lot of family members looked up to him, especially his younger brother,” said Luna. “I decided to tell the story through his eyes to show perspective on how he was treated and how it affected everyone in the family.”
Luna confessed her main inspiration stemmed from personal experience and she felt it was a great time to tell the story with all of the recent advancements in gay rights.
This isn’t Luna’s first rodeo, as she had been part of a film that was accepted to Cannes last year, and credits that experience to driving her to create something of her own.
“I put in a lot of work and dedication, a lot of hours and brainstorming,” Luna said. “It always feels good when your hard work pays off.”
Becoming the general manager of the on-campus television studio, SSU-TV, has given Luna a great deal of experience in the industry.
“It’s taught me a lot of leadership skills and allowed me to take on these big projects,” said Luna.
However, it is her fellow classmates that she says inspire her most. Luna aspires to become a director and has plans to move to L.A. post-graduation.
Another winner and Hollywood finalist, “Slut Man Friends,” was written and produced by senior Communication and Media Studies major Sean Tadlock. Both short films mentioned above were made in collaboration with their team of fellow student filmmakers, Studio 1063. Tadlock, also an actor in the short film, says the idea is based on a true story and showcases an unconventional friendship between a gay and a straight man.
“It’s a bold comedy geared towards a younger audience,” said Tadlock, “I also touch upon slut-shaming in the video, which I also feel makes it kind of pop more,” Tadlock continues, “As funny as I think it is, it also sends that message out towards the world that we shouldn’t be calling girls these names. Even though it is called “Slut Man Friends,” it’s kind of like us taking back the word in a way; owning it but not necessarily in the way that it’s been used in a negative (way). It comments on the privilege that we as males have.”
Along with “Bobby,” and another CMF short film titled “The Vision,” “Slut Man Friends” will be screened at the Cannes Festival in May.
“It’s definitely a huge honor,” said Tadlock, “I never thought I’d have this opportunity at such a young age.”
But students will not be able to take advantage of this opportunity until they raise the necessary program fees and travel expenses.
“It’s not totally real yet until I know for sure I’m going,” Tadlock said.
Tadlock manages the SSU-TV short film group and is also a photographer/videographer for Associated Student Productions. He largely credits his desire to go into the film industry to his professors, who have inspired him to believe in himself and never give up.
“I really owe my career start to my professors and the network of students I’ve met along the way,” said Tadlock.
He also has plans to move to L.A. after graduation and would like to get more into the behind-the-scenes world of filmmaking by writing comedy screenplays.
The third film being screened at the Cannes Festival this May is called “The Vision,” and was created by a team of SSU-TV students led by “Captain” Max Heller. This short film is a parody of the process the team went through filming for the CMF competition.
Professor Ed Beebout, who runs SSU-TV, has seen these students blossom and can only imagine what the future holds for these young filmmakers.
“I’m extremely proud that our students have received this kind of recognition not only this year but two years in a row now. It’s a testament to the amount of hard work and time they’ve put in,” Beebout said.
Each group of students has until Mar. 20 to come up with the necessary program fees to attend Cannes International Film Festival, which is about $2900 (not including travel expenses) per short film, each film being represented by two students.