Walking the red carpet in formal attire, lights flashing as photographers take photos, the smell of popcorn wafting through the air, and excitement in the atmosphere as filmmakers and attendees mingle. This was the beginning of a beautiful night to remember at SSUTV’s Fifth Annual Film Festival, Cinenoma.
Nine films were entered into the festival this year, each of them unique in style and story. Students, family members and friends came together to support the filmmakers in the Student Center Ballroom. In addition to watching the films, attendees participated in a raffle that included DVDs, candy and popcorn to take home.
While the beginning of the evening was plagued by sudden technical difficulties, this misfortune didn’t keep attendees from entertaining themselves. Bria Gabor, senior communications major, led the entire group in a game of “Heads Up” in order to keep the festivities going.
After the films were screened, four awards were given out for Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Picture. Gabor won Best Actress for her role in her own film, “Roommates. The film summed up the college experience: Living with a messy roommate and constantly cleaning up after them.
Gabor began her journey into film through theater class in middle school and high school. She first submitted a film to Campus MovieFest her freshman year at Sonoma State.
“I submitted a film that was really terrible, but it’s only gotten better from there. I’ve met amazing people through it,” said Gabor. “But I’m so thankful we get to have events like this where we can submit our work and professionals critique them, it’s just an honor.”
Best Actor went to Brett Mollard for his performance his film “Youth,” an incredible, heart-breaking film about a 21-year-old going back in time to warn his 18-year-old self of a terrible future.
Unfortunately, Mollard was not present to accept his award.
Best Cinematography went to Jimmy Rich for his film “Animals,” a story about a boxer getting ready for a fight. Rich accepted his award with a smile and let the audience know his film was just a snippet from a feature film he’ll be releasing later this year.
Best Picture went to Miles Levin, a Santa Rosa Junior College student, for his film “A Life of Your Choosing.” The film featured a golden retriever who wished for the life of a human, while humans wished for a life like his.
“Just to be screened feels really nice, and to see other filmmakers my age doing their thing is an honor in and of itself,” said Levin. “I totally would want to come back [to Cinenoma] every year, at least as an audience member.”
Cinenoma was opened up to all of of Sonoma County this year which brought in a more diverse group of films.
“There were some great, interesting films tonight and I love that they’ve opened it up to the larger Sonoma County student filmmaking community,” said Ed Beebout, SSUTV adviser. “It definitely gave it a nice freshness and variety. I think it went really well.”
Anna Luna, General Manager of SSUTV and host of Cinenoma, shared the same sentiments.
“We had great submissions this year, a lot of talent to be seen,” said Luna. “I think everyone had a great time. There was definitely a bigger turnout this year, which is great to see people appreciating all of the hard work put into it.”
This is Luna’s last year as SSUTV General Manager. She’ll be passing the torch on to Sam Houser, a sophomore in his second year at SSUTV.
“I think Sam has the same vision and passion that I and the past GM’s had for SSUTV,” said Luna. “I think he’s willing to continue that work and keep it growing.”
Houser got involved in SSUTV his first year at Sonoma State with a background in video editing and graphic design in high school. Houser is in the process of coming up with ideas on how to make Cinenoma even better in the coming years.
“I’m thinking of moving it to Ives Hall, it’s more theater-style,” said Houser. “I’d like to make it more campuswide and get some more submissions. Just make it bigger and better every year and keep progressing.”
The Sonoma County filmmaking community is growing larger all the time. Sonoma State can only look forward to Cinenoma featuring these hidden talents for years to come.