Meet our 2019 festival’s local filmmakers

In an effort to support community art making, celebrate local stories, and feature homegrown filmmaking talent, Fresno Filmworks presented an exclusive program of five short films with Central Valley connections at our 15th annual Fresno Film Festival. There was a Q&A after the program.

We also introduced the winners of our 2019 student filmmaker competition, from Video Production Academy students at Sunnyside High School. Students were asked to make short films under the theme “I Love Film,” to be used before Filmworks screenings and for social media promotions. The competition was in collaboration with the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC), which serves as the region’s volunteer-driven community media production center.

Some time has now passed since the festival. So in case you missed them, here’s one last look at the local filmmakers who were featured.

Filmworks advisory board member Katie McQuone Botello, center, who coordinates the Video Production Academy at Sunnyside High, with filmmakers Phuong Nguyen, left, and Joanna Salinthone.

Before the shorts program, we introduced the winners of our 2019 student filmmaker competition, the 2nd annual community outreach project for Filmworks. Mentors for the contest were Filmworks advisory board members Jefferson Beavers and Katie McQuone Botello. Judges for the contest included CMAC programming coordinator Johnny Pecina, with four students from Katie’s Digital Video Production class at Fresno City College — Marina Rodriguez, Danilo Penate, Daniel Armenta, and Amira Noble.

• Joanna Salinthone, first place – watch video
• Phuong Nguyen, second place – watch video
• Gaoger Lee, honorable mention – watch video
• Amber Vang, honorable mention – watch video
• Jazmine Valencia, honorable mention – watch video

Salinthone’s short video, an ambitious work of stop-motion animation that was assembled by hand, was shown before each program at the festival. All the “I Love Film” videos will be shown in rotation throughout the remainder of the 2019-20 Filmworks season, through May 2020.

From left: Filmworks advisory board member Jefferson Beavers, with visiting filmmakers David Kennedy and Cindy Wathen-Kennedy, Dr. Marc Lasher, and Micah Byers and Zoë Smurr. (Photo: Keith Seaman)

A look back at the short film program lineup:

The Blessing and the Curse
The inspiring story of folk, Americana, and rockabilly musician Lance Canales, who rose from humble Central California farmworker beginnings to prominence in the international music scene. Directed by David Kennedy. Produced by Cindy Wathen-Kennedy.

A 10-year-old girl rebels against the rules of her futuristic society, where girls can only interact with the color pink and boys with the color blue. Directed by Annie Villalobos.

The Clinic
Amidst a devastating opioid epidemic, a needle exchange and free clinic organized by Dr. Marc Lasher operates in the shadows of Fresno, California. Directed by Elivia Shaw.

What Ana Knew
Sixteen-year-old Ana is faced with pressure from her family to keep a secret from her ailing grandmother in this intergenerational drama about an Armenian American family. Directed by Zoë Smurr. Produced and with musical score by Micah Byers.

Red Watch
In this snappy spoken-word short film saturated in primary colours, a woman recites an unrequited goodbye to her ex-boyfriend’s red watch. Directed by David Kennedy. Produced by Cindy Wathen-Kennedy.