Film Forum

I Heart Film: Albert Cano and Michael Swain

Michael Swain and Albert Cano have more than a dozen favorite films they’ve seen at Filmworks screenings over the past decade.


Where are you both from, and what do you do professionally here in Fresno?
Albert: I was born in Fresno but grew up in Kerman. I’m the Local Media Research Manager at Univision Communications for the Fresno and Sacramento markets.
Michael: I was born in San Francisco, and I moved to Fresno when I was in elementary school. I’m a CFO for a local construction company and I also have a CPA practice.

What are some of your hobbies?
Albert enjoys weightlifting, traveling, listening to music, seeing modern art, exploring architecture, and of course watching good cinema.
Michael enjoys spending time with family, working out, traveling, and exploring architecture.

How do you support Filmworks and why?
Albert: We attend as many of Filmworks’ monthly screenings as possible and the annual Fresno Film Festival, not only because we enjoy watching films, but also to support a local organization that provides Fresno an enhanced cultural experience. We are also both members.

What triggered your interest in film?
Albert: While attending college, I worked at the now-closed Northgate Cinemas, which used to be located on Blackstone next to Whitie’s Pets. It was a movie theater that played indie, foreign, and gay-themed films. This is where I developed an appreciation for films out of the mainstream. After college, I discovered the now-closed video rental store, The Movies, in the Tower District. I loved to rent indie films by Andy Warhol, John Waters, and Stanley Kubrick.

What are your favorite films that you’ve seen at Filmworks?
Michael: We’ve watched so many good films at Filmworks through the years!
Albert [emailing us an extensive list later]: Some that stand out for us have included:
— 2005, Tarnation and Bad Education
— 2006, Caché
— 2011, Waste Land
— 2012, Urbanized, Monsieur Lazhar, and Searching for Sugar Man
— 2013, Wadjda
— 2014, The Great Beauty, Levitated Mass, and The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (as part of the Oscar shorts documentary program)
— 2015, Force Majeure, The Wrecking Crew, and The Cut
— 2016, Miss Sharon Jones!
— 2017, I Dream in Another Language
— 2018, Faces Places

What other films do you enjoy?
Albert: We enjoy watching films that are nominated for Oscars. We try to watch as many of the Best Picture nominees as we can. We also enjoy attending the Fresno Reel Pride film festival.

What were your favorite Best Picture nominees for the Oscar this year?
Albert: Unfortunately, this year we only watched one of the nine films nominated, Call Me By Your Name. I liked the movie but I’m not sure if it was Best Picture worthy. I really want to watch The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and I heard good things about Lady Bird, so I am most intrigued by those.

What would you say to others in the community to get them interested in supporting Filmworks?
Michael: We like that Filmworks shows films that you won’t find at the chain movie theaters, like the Oscar shorts every year. The selection of films is so varied, and they will expand your horizons.

Our “I Heart Film” series spotlights our generous community donors. Contact board member Jefferson Beavers for information on becoming a sponsor or member.

Every second Friday of the month, Fresno Filmworks screens first-run independent and international movies at the historic Tower Theatre.