Celeste Guirola is a Fresno State grad student and Fresno Filmworks intern who helped with the archiving and digitizing of Fresno Filmworks’ history of premiered films and festivals.
Celeste, a native of Fresno, said her recent internship was a “fantastic learning opportunity” that whetted her appetite to learn even more about film. Meet Celeste in this Q&A.
Tell us a little about yourself – where you grew up, where you’re going to school now, your major?
Celeste: I grew up right here in Fresno – I have never lived anywhere else! I attended Edison High School, then Fresno City College before transferring to Fresno State. I graduated with my bachelor’s in English last spring and returned to Fresno State for my master’s in English: Rhetoric and Writing Studies. Some of my research interests are film, race, gender and sexuality rhetoric, American pop culture, and social justice pedagogy.
Describe the work that you did for the Fresno Filmworks website, what did it entail? What did you like most about it?
Celeste: I worked with Jefferson Beavers on archiving and digitizing Fresno Filmworks’ past premiered films and festivals. So Jefferson spent quite a bit of time digitizing the print archives, a lot of which came from records and clips from newspapers from the early 2000s. During some of the old website transitions, a few films were lost from the database, so we worked on bringing those back. I then uploaded them to the Filmworks’ website. We provided summaries, director information, tags and categories, and did some searching to provide higher quality film posters.
We also decided to keep in any guest visitors the premieres might have had and focused a lot on preserving what was already on the website to keep that history intact. We also included some other searchable facts to essentially build a database from scratch, so that they would be viewable on the new, updated site and people would be able to look back at Fresno Filmworks’ history or could find a film they remembered watching. We uploaded and revamped over 300 films, starting from 2002.
Are you a movie buff? What kinds of movies do you like, and why?
Celeste: Well, I always thought I was a movie buff, until I started my internship! But it was a fantastic learning opportunity. It was great to be able to spend an hour every week chatting with Jefferson about film history from all around the world, and to be able to have that exposure to foreign films, which I hadn’t had too much of. It was also really interesting to learn about different film cultures – the art of filmmaking, and what it means to people as a craft.
As far as what kinds of movies I like, I love all kinds of things. I have done a bit of research and writing on horror films. I like horror as a genre because I truly think there is something there for everyone – which is kind of a funny thing to hear if you don’t typically like the genre! But I think horror films have a lot to say about the world, and they just do it in a really interesting way. I think they are scary to us sometimes because they can be so relatable. It’s also a growing field, which I think is really interesting to watch. Horror can say so much about history depending on what types of fears are showcased over the years, too. The horror genre changes so often, so it’s really fun.
Do you have an all-time favorite movie?
Celeste: Wow, this question is hard! I think “The Godfather” is really fantastic, but I also love “Spirited Away” and “Pom Poko,” and a favorite semi-new release might be “Ex Machina.” I have a lot of movies on my watch list!
In pre-COVID times, did you prefer going to a theater to see movies or staying home and streaming?
Celeste: I actually stayed home a lot more than going to a theater, which I now definitely regret. I have always wanted to visit a classic theater, which is on my post-COVID to do list!
What do you like to do in your free time?
Celeste: I like rewatching some of my favorite movies, or binging TV shows. I don’t hold onto hobbies too often, but I alternate usually between cooking, coloring, needlepoint, and playing a couple of my favorite video games. I also like to collect cool earrings.
What kinds of things do you want to do when COVID is finally behind us?
Celeste: I would love to travel, safely. Like I mentioned, I would really like to visit some classic old theaters or go to expos – I was planning on attending an oddities expo before COVID hit that I am still interested in – and I definitely miss concerts. I think I just miss the energy of being around people. I never thought I’d miss crowds!
Before COVID, did you see any movies in the Fresno Filmworks series at the Tower Theater? If so, which ones?
Celeste: I’m really sad to say that I didn’t, but I’d love to after COVID, depending on how things play out in the coming months.
Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share?
Celeste: Even though I entered the Fresno Filmworks scene during an odd time, I’m really excited to see where it goes after COVID! It was an honor to be a part of this transition, and I really enjoyed being able to learn about Fresno Filmworks’ history. I can’t wait to meet the team in person and see what is coming next.