Volunteer Spotlight: Celeste DeMonte and Neal Howard

The Academy would like to thank volunteers Neal Howard and Celeste DeMonte for their contributions to Filmworks. Via JA Photography.
The Academy would like to thank volunteers Neal Howard and Celeste DeMonte for their contributions to Filmworks. Via JA Photography.
May 2014 Volunteer Spotlight: Celeste DeMonte and Neal Howard

Occupations: Celeste works as a technical writer for the software company Famous Software. Neal is a retired pharmacist.
Celeste: “I write the help system for the software. If you push the little F1 button [in the application] and help text shows up – I write that. And I also write documents that we have on our website for how to use our software.”
Neal: “I do drugs. I was a pharmacist for 40 years. The last twelve I spent with Kaiser, here in Fresno. I’ve been retired since March of last year.”

What hobbies do you two like to share?
“I did a little bit of basketball coaching at a school here in Fresno, and my friend and I run a couple of leagues out of a local church and we do tournaments. I’m planning on doing some pharmacy consulting, so I can have a little cash in my hand. I can take Celeste out whenever I want.”
Celeste: “I’m taking French lessons, as a hobby and to keep my brain fresh. I sing in Fresno Community Chorus and I serve on their Board of Directors. I’m on the board of L’Alliance Française de Fresno as well. We do volunteer stuff together: Filmworks, public radio, Rogue Festival.”
Neal: “And I just became a Rotary Club member.”

What’s your favorite movie of all time and why?
“My favorite movie of all time is “Le Roi de Coeur”, also known as “King of Hearts,” with Alan Bates and Geneviève Bujold. And I like it because it shows how completely stupid some wars are. It was visually fun and at the end of the film you’re left wondering, ‘Okay, who really are the crazy people?'”
Neal: “As a kid, my favorite movie was “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” with Kirk Douglas; I saw it like, seven times. And the other one would be “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner. Maybe because he had such a strong link with his father.”

How did you end up volunteering with Filmworks?
“We decided to start volunteering because we’d hear about the fun things that were going on and then we’d forget. I thought, ‘You know what? If we volunteer, we have to show up!’ But, it’s a nice way to get involved.”
Neal: It’s fun to volunteer for Filmworks. I think we knew some people who were going to the films.”
Celeste: “We know Kathryn and Carl Johnson and we may have been inspired by them. But from the beginning, just going to the films, it’s fun. It’s such a good group of people.”
Neal: “I think now we stick around because of Gloria Burrola.”

What are your usual volunteer jobs at Filmworks?
“We started out with the candy and popcorn and the drinks. Now, I stay away from the popcorn because I’m not good at getting the oil into the tin. I get more oil on the tablecloth than in the popcorn machine.”
Celeste: “The past couple of times it has been ticket taking.”
Neal: “I kind of enjoy ticket taking, because I like to greet the people.”

What has been your most memorable volunteer experience?
“Two or three years ago, they said, ‘Oh, any of our volunteers who feel like showing up on a Saturday or a Sunday morning,’ and they did some filming. So, we ended up in some video spots. They made those spots for the Fresno Film Festival.”
Neal: “And they happened to run it in a loop for one of the shows … and there I was [onscreen], throwing up popcorn – 20 times – and they were just looping it! It was fun coming down and seeing how they actually produced the stuff. And then actually seeing yourself on screen – it was a cool experience.”

Are there any types of films or movie genres that you’d like Filmworks to show more of?
“They generally do a good job.”
Celeste: “It’s nice that they bring a mix from all over the world, films we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. And it’s nice to see the cooperation with other groups, like L’Alliance Française and the Fresno Youth Orchestras for the last one.”
Neal “I think it’s very good that they can get cultural arts sponsors. … It speaks well of Filmworks and what they want to do. It’s good to see that crossover in culture.”

Filmworks thanks all of our May 2014 volunteers: Jackie Aldern, Cleo Bauer, Rita Bell, Celeste DeMonte, Fae Giffen, Karen Hammer, Rebecca Horwitz, Neal Howard, Caroline Jackson, Carl Johnsen, Kathryn Johnsen, Thomas Loewenheim (discussant), Steve Malm, Ann McGowan, Conde McGowan, Dominic Papagni, Gene Richards, Bill Rovin, Richard Stone, Tracy Stuntz, Betsy Thompson, Lorraine Tomerlin, Phil Unruh, Andrew Veihmeyer, Analise Villalobos (intern), Suzanne Watkins.

Past volunteers in the spotlight: April 2014: Andrew Ranta • March 2014: Loraine 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 director, Gloria Burrola, to volunteer at a future screening.