Fullerton College film students brought their artwork to life by projecting their 16mm films Friday, Mar. 2, at the Fullerton Fox Theater during the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk.

Alexander Leto and Marlowe Lewis-Mahon worked together diligently to put on the programs very first film festival. They wanted film students to have the opportunity to showcase their work, but also bring to light the historically authentic theater.

Leto and Lewis-Mahon

Alexander Leto and Marlowe Lewis-Mahon discuss how they came up with the Film Festival. Photo credit: Ayanna Banks

Although the evening was centered around the films, photographic artwork was showcased as well from students and local artists in the lobby of the theater.

Also present were field representatives of the California State Assembly. They had a booth available to give attendees historical background information on the theater and on the proposed renovations that are set to take place to conserve the building.

“The architecture is incredibly beautiful. One of the drawbacks of being a Californian is that we tend to bulldoze our history instead of preserving what we have left,” said Ricardo Perea, one of the representatives.

It is one of many designs by architect Raymond M. Kennedy. In its earlier days the theater was used for 16mm silent films, but also had on-stage live performances and more.

16mm films are a dying art form that has been taken over by digital filmmaking. Because this type of filmmaking is rarely used, students that hand crafted these pieces had to travel back and forth to Burbank just to get their films developed.

Leyva-Lopez and Dean Smith

Students Brandon Leyva-Lopez and Dean Smith talk about the films they created. Photo credit: Ayanna Banks

“The final project is well worth it. It’s exponentially more difficult than editing digitally with computer software,” Lewis-Mahon said.

These works of art took a substantial amount of physical hard work, time and dedication to put together. Some of the films projected had abstract ideas, but also included comedy and horror themes.

“It took us literally about four hours to do just one take. It was difficult to know how it would come out, but I still had fun doing the project. The house we shot in we believe is haunted, so it became the inspiration for our film,” said Luis Zuinga, a film student.

This type of filmmaking takes meticulous planning because of the unpredictability of the outcome, the expenses and developing the film roles.

“I loved it. It was by far the best stress I have ever had in my life,” Leto said.

Although the films were silent, laughter and awe filled the theatre as crowds expressed their astonishment and appreciation for the student films.

The parallelism of the Fox theater and the Film Festival created a successful evening for the Fullerton College program.

Students hope that this event will bring awareness to the art form and possibly make it a ongoing occurrence.

Film students discuss

Film students Luis Zuniga, Brandon Leyva-Lopez Caryn Panozzo, Megan Koziel and Caryn Panozzo talk about their 16mm films. Photo credit: Ayanna Banks

“We need the support of students to make that happen. Anyone who is interested in the film program should get involved,” Lewis-Mahon stated. “It is well worth it.”

For information regarding the Downtown Fullerton Art Walk, visit their website.

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