Film Forum

I Heart Film: Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez

Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez of the Fresno Arts Council loves Filmworks because of international movie picks such as “I Am Not a Witch.”

I Heart Film: Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez

Lilia works as executive director of the Fresno Arts Council, one of the Fresno Film Festival’s longtime sponsors and supporters.

Why is it important, from the perspective of the Fresno Arts Council, to support Filmworks?

Lilia: Filmworks provides a unique opportunity for the cinema lovers of Fresno to see a fine selection of new and unique films not accessible through any other venue in the Central Valley.

How and why did you first get involved with Filmworks?

Lilia: The Fresno Arts Council got involved with Filmworks to help fill a need in the community, as a space for presenting independent, non-commercial films.

Since its very beginning, the art form of cinema has captured audiences with its ability to speak to everyone, touch their emotions, and bring stories to life. Non-commercial cinema provides an opportunity for the public to experience those stories that might not otherwise be shared.

As an arts council, we are committed to equity in the arts community, and without support of independent film groups like Filmworks, many important storytellers would be excluded from the movie theater.

How do you support Filmworks now?

Lilia: The Fresno Arts Council first supported the Fresno Film Festival in its earliest days many years ago, with several community enrichment grants. We now annually sponsor at least one film.

[At the 15th annual Fresno Film Fest, the Fresno Arts Council is the screening sponsor for our festival shorts program, which features five short films and also five super-short student films, all with Central Valley connections.]

In addition to your work at Fresno Arts Council, what are some of your hobbies?

Lilia: I enjoy reading, and I enjoy volunteering for various groups. Personally, I like to volunteer with community groups that are actively providing opportunities for the public to experience the cultural arts.

What originally led to your interests in movies?

Lilia: Going to Filmworks, actually!

What’s your favorite film that you’ve seen at the historic Tower Theatre?

Lilia: The African film “I Am Not a Witch,” from the 2018 Fresno Film Festival. I like movies that push all my buttons, and the story of Shula in “I Am Not a Witch” did that—a little laughter, difficult choices to be made, and human tragedy.

What would you say to others in the community to get them interested in supporting Filmworks?

Lilia: If you love high-quality movies that touch all the emotions and often address the current of emerging socio-political issues as well, please help keep Filmworks going.

Our “I Heart Film” blog series spotlights our generous community donors. Contact our development director, Linda Garcia, for information on becoming a sponsor or member.

Our 2019-20 season: Sept. 13; Oct. 11; Nov. 8-10 (Fresno Film Festival); Jan. 10; Feb. 7-8 (Oscar shorts); March 13; April 10; May 8.