Occupation: For 12 years, Rita has worked as a paralegal at Dowling Aaron Inc. in north Fresno. “I do legal research. I do a wide variety of stuff. It’s the client’s call. If they need something, I research how to get it done for them.”
What else do you like to do outside of work? “I like volunteering and I’ve done it for a long time. I guess I just grew up that way. My kids also like to volunteer. [Oldest daughter Micaela is 17, son Teule is 15, and youngest daughter Amara is 12.] We volunteer with Arte Américas downtown at their events, and sometimes I help on the weekends at the front desk. I’m also pretty involved in my kids’ schools. I just joined the planning for the next Earth Day Fresno. I’m heading up one committee and that’s going to be really fun to work on.”
What’s one of your favorite movies of all time, and why? “Today? I’d say ‘Pulp Fiction.’ I came across it again in the last couple of days. I saw some snippets the other day and I thought, I need to watch that movie again. If it’s on, I’m going to watch it. Actually, whenever most Quentin Tarantino movies are on, I’ll do that. So I actually rarely see the whole thing. I just see snippets, and then I start watching it again from that part.”
How long have you volunteered with Filmworks, and how did you get involved? “I started this past spring. My first event was the Fresno Film Festival. I had heard of Filmworks for a long time, and I had been to a couple movies here and there. Then I happened to meet board member Gloria Burrola at a volutneer orientation at Arte. She described Filmworks and it seemed really fun. Of course, the big enticement was that you could stay and watch the movies! I thought, oh my gosh, really?! Gloria is really on it, in terms of her organization. She’s got it down.”
What is your typical volunteer job, and what do you like most about it? “I usually work the concessions and it has been really cool. I love talking to people. I enjoy getting to know the other volunteers, too. These are people I wouldn’t know at all. Fresno can be small, and a lot of people do know each other for the other things they do, but these are total strangers to me. Other volunteer positions I have elsewhere are a lot of work. So I always feel like this one is all play! I love all the things I do, but volunteering for Filmworks is a bonus all the way around.”
What’s your favorite film that you’ve seen with us at the Tower Theatre? “The animated film, ‘Ernest & Celestine.’ My daughter Amara and I really enjoyed it. We watched it together, and it’s a fun cartoon. But the underlying story — two people completely different, actually against each other, then they find this great friendship — that was the best. Not even just a regular friendship, but they really relied on each other. I liked seeing that. Plus there were a lot of families, a lot of kids for that one.”
What types of movies would you like to see Filmworks show more of? “The thing I like about Filmworks is the variety and the diversity of the films. If anything, I just want to maintain that. This offbeat ‘Life After Beth,’ this month, all the Oscar-nominated movies that people do not know about, and the smaller films that no one has ever heard about. I think that’s really valuable, and I would want that to continue.”
Why is it important to you for Filmworks to continue with these kinds of independent films? “Exposure, definitely. I see movies in the big theaters all the time, but it’s pretty much the same thing every time. ‘Life After Beth,’ you know . . . that was a completely different zombie movie! I think people need a variety of exposure. I do. It’s not good for us to have the same options, so the variety is really good. Plus, I think people need to come out to The Tower Theatre more. It’s a beautiful theater. I think it’s my favorite place in Fresno.”
Filmworks thanks all of our October 2014 volunteers: Bill Adams, Rita Bell, Richard Flores, Rebecca Horwitz, Kathryn Johnsen, Jana Price, Jesus Reyes, Katrina Riggs, Arthur Robinson, Susan Rogers, Richard Stone, Arleen Thukral, Lorraine Tomerlin, Michael Travels, Analise Villalobos.
Past volunteers in the spotlight: September 2014: Colby Tibbet • August 2014: Monica Marks-Rea • July 2014: Julie Linwixler • June 2014: Lorna Bonyhadi • May 2014: Celeste DeMonte and Neal Howard • April 2014: Andrew Ranta • March 2014: Lorraine Tomerlin • February 2014: Antonio Garcia • January 2014: Fae Giffen • December 2013: Cleo Bauer and Dominic Papagni • November 2013: Kathryn and Carl Johnsen • October 2013: Linda Hernandez • September 2013: Susan Rogers • August 2013: Joan and Brijesh Sharma • July 2013: Jon Veinberg • June 2013: Richard Stone • May 2013: Sarah Nixon • April 2013: Alyssa Rendon • March 2013: Nené Casares
Contact our volunteer coordinator, Gloria Burrola, to volunteer at a future screening.