Volunteer Spotlight: Justin Secor

Our October volunteer in the spotlight, Justin Secor, is an outdoors enthusiast and high school film buff.
Our October volunteer in the spotlight, Justin Secor, is an outdoors enthusiast and high school film buff.
October 2015 Volunteer in the Spotlight: Justin Secor

Originally hailing from Minnesota, Clovis North High School senior Justin Secor enjoys outdoor activities and takes advantage of Fresno’s close proximity to the Sierra Nevadas any chance he can get. He began picking up extensive film knowledge two years ago when he realized his different taste for movies didn’t correlate with the tastes of his friends.

“I asked myself why do I prefer films over others and that’s because I enjoy the art of filmmaking and the art of film as a medium,” Justin says. “Then, by watching more classic movies and art house films, it really lit a fire and became a burning passion for cinema.”

Occupation: While some might consider attending high school as a full-time job in itself, Justin is hoping to spend his free time later this year high up in the Sierras.

“Currently, I’m ‘unemployed,’ ” Justin laughs “but I will most likely be rehired as a ski instructor for this coming season [at China Peak]. So, I’m pretty much part time there and a high school student.”

What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work? “I like to play tennis, fly fish, and ski. I got into skiing when I was a little kid — about age 3 or so — when I was living in Minnesota. Around that time I didn’t really like hockey, so I put on the skis and have been pretty much doing it ever since.“

What are some of your favorite movies? “That’s a tough one. One of my favorite movies is probably ‘Citizen Kane.’ Also ‘Being John Malkovich,’ ‘Mean Streets,’ ‘8 ½,’ ‘Seven Samurai’ — just a whole diverse range of movies, but that doesn’t really do it for my list. Pretty much any Stanley Kubrick movie I absolutely adore — I mean, the list goes on.”

“There’s a lot of great movies out there and it’s just impossible to list them all out.”

What’s in your Netflix queue right now? “I’ve got ‘All is Lost’ by director J.C. Chandor, ‘Blue Velvet,’ ‘French Connection,’ ‘Battle Royale,’ ‘Sling Blade,’ ‘Great Escape,’ Buster Keaton in ‘The General,’ and ‘Hoop Dreams.’ ”

What movies are you excited to see next? “Obviously, the new Quentin Tarantino that will be coming out, ‘The Hateful Eight,’ and the new Todd Haynes movie, ‘Carol,’ which seems like that’s going to be a really brilliant film.”

“There’s also the ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic with Michael Fassbender. I’m also looking forward to the many, many art house and indie films that will be coming out within the next year and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‘The Revenant’ — that should be a brilliant film as well.”

How did you first hear about Filmworks? “I went to a lecture that was put on by a Fresno City College professor — whose name escapes me [but is very likely John Moses, President Emeritus of Filmworks] — but a really nice guy, insightful. He pointed out that the next film would be showing through Filmworks was going to be ‘Two Days, One Night’ with Marion Cotillard.”

“So, my dad and I thought that would be a good idea to go see the new film, because it got some really good reviews and we were both pleasantly surprised by everything that Filmworks was doing.”

What’s your typical volunteer experience for Filmworks like? “Typically, I work in front of the house by taking tickets, helping people out, and answering any questions they may have. I like to do whatever I can to help even if it is bringing in the tables or start closing up.”

What has been your favorite movie at Filmworks? “So far, I really enjoyed ‘Tangerines,’ but if I had to put my finger on a favorite, I would say that it would have to be ‘Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter.’ I got to meet the visiting director, David Zellner, and he was such a nice guy and it was so nice to even briefly talk to him about his art and what he did to create the film and I just thought it was a very nice experience.”

What’s one of your most memorable or unusual volunteer experiences with Filmworks? “When the screening for ‘The Wrecking Crew’ was happening, the visiting director, Denny Tedesco, was selling T-shirts and there were a lot of them! There were bowling T-shirts, graphic T-shirts, film recordings — he was selling just a bunch of merchandise.”

“He actually left to go to dinner halfway through and it was a ball,” Justin laughs. [Justin graciously stood in for Denny, selling merch while the director was away.] “There was an entire situation with the credit card swiper and people wanted their shirts and we couldn’t sell it to them! That was an entire ordeal right there and it was resolved, but while it was happening it was quite the fiasco.”

Any advice for those wanting to try independent films? “Go with an open mind, really — there’s a common stigma about ‘art films’ being boring or something like that, and although that can be understandable — it’s important to keep an open mind because no matter where it’s made or who it’s by, film is an universal language that can be understood by everybody.”

“It’s really important that in order to absorb a wider culture we open ourselves up to different kinds of film.”

Filmworks thanks all of our September 2015 volunteers: Frank Dougherty, Richard Flores, Satch Gonzalez, Tish Griggs, Karen Hammer, Neal Howard, Yvette Mancilla (intern), Richard Markley, Gene Richards, Yvonne Schwemmer, Justin Secor, Brijesh Sharma, Richard Stone, Sky Sweet, Pedro Urena, Jon Veinberg.

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