Volunteer Spotlight: Andy Julian

The Academy would like to thank aspiring filmmaker Andy Julian for his volunteer time with Fresno Filmworks.
The Academy would like to thank aspiring filmmaker Andy Julian for his volunteer time with Fresno Filmworks.

February 2016 Volunteer in the Spotlight: Andy Julian

At age 24, Andy is a one-of-a-kind Renaissance Man — although he wouldn’t call himself that because he doesn’t like drawing attention to himself or his accomplishments. Andy moved to Fresno from Palo Alto in 2004. He’s an artist, a musician, and an aspiring filmmaker, and he likes to work with his hands. He serves as president of the Volunteer Club at Fresno City College. And he will soon graduate from FCC and become a film studies major; he is applying to UC Berkeley, UCLA, and USC.

Occupation: As a full-time student, Andy doesn’t have a whole lot of free time. He enrolled at Fresno City College in January 2015, and he took 19 classes in his first year, equalling 63 units.

In his free time, Andy works out, plays guitar, makes name badges for his own work shirts (even though he’s not in construction currently), takes film and photography classes, and serves as an audio engineer for the Latin jazz class at Roger Rocka’s. This February was special for Andy, as he visited UC Berkeley to meet with an adviser for his dream program: a film studies program that would let him not just critique films, but create them. He has visits to UCLA and USC lined up as well.

How did you get started with Fresno Filmworks? John Moses, president emeritus of Filmworks and film studies instructor at Fresno City, suggested that Andy — and all of his film studies students — attend a screening of “the mystical and mythical Fresno Filmworks premieres,” Andy says.

So, Andy took Dr. Moses up on the suggestion. Then, one fateful evening, while waiting in the lobby alongside other eager moviegoers, Andy offered to help. Instead of waiting inside the theater quietly for the show to start, he asked if anyone needed help and he started volunteering on the spot. “Just like that, I was hooked.”

What is your typical volunteer experience with Fresno Filmworks, and what keeps you coming back? “I love being able to see films that otherwise wouldn’t be shown in Fresno. I love the people. Everyone’s always so friendly, and I typically help with ticket sales or making popcorn.”

What’s your favorite film you’ve seen with Filmworks at the Tower Theater? “Either ‘Two Days, One Night’ or ‘Wild Tales,’ just because of how beautifully they both were done and how funny ‘Wild Tales’ was.”

What are some of your favorite films? Even though he’s a film studies major, Andy denounces his identity as a critic. He loves all films, he says — or, well, most of them — as long as there is a good plot and the production is “clearly not just a ploy to get money from customer’s wallets.”

Andy enjoys franchise films like “Star Wars,” “Back to the Future,” “Toy Story,” and “The Avengers,” but he also has developed a taste for truly cinematic, transformative experiences. That’s why “La Jetée,” a 1962 French science-fiction film by Chris Marker and winner of the Prix Jean Vigo for short film in the Cinema of France, is his favorite. Constructed almost entirely from still photos, the black-and-white film tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel.

What’s in your Netflix queue right now? “Everything Oscar-nominated,” he says. “I haven’t had time to see them all, but I’m trying to slowly start getting through the list now.”

What was the last movie you saw in theaters? “‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ and I liked it, even if it wasn’t as good as the originals.”

What do you want to see in theaters next? “Deadpool.”

Who are some of your favorite directors, or what are some films you’d like to see at the Tower? He likes Werner Herzog and “Grizzly Man.” He likes Krzysztof Kieślowski documentaries and Polish feature films. And one of the films that was on the Cutting Room Floor for Filmworks in March, “Hitchcock/Truffaut,” are among those Andy appreciates. “Oh, and of course, Martin Scorsese,” he says.

His favorite thing about film is its transformative, transcendent quality. “It’s a nonverbal communication, it transcends languages. If you watch a Hitchcock movie you can feel suspense in Argentina, in Antarctica, because people from all over can understand the message you are trying to tell. Film brings us together. It transcends culture and language.”

Fresno Filmworks thanks our February 2016 Volunteers: Hazel Antamarian-Hofman, Cleo Bauer, Frank Dougherty, John Dunning, Richard Flores, Janelle Gaxiola, Trin Gibney, Megan Ginise, Karen Hammer, Neal Howard, Andy Julian, Richard Markley, Ann McGowan, Conde McGowan, Steve Ohanesian, Kristy Page, Dominic Papagni, Angad Puniani, Andrew Ranta, Gene Richards, Jon Veinberg, Olga Verkhotina, Suzanne Watkins.

To meet our past volunteers in the spotlight, and to find out how you can volunteer with Filmworks, visit our volunteer page.