Laughter echoed in the theater as local Long Beach filmmakers debut their latest projects. The 5th Annual Long Beach Indie International Film Festival took place last week showcasing local filmmakers, including Long Beach State University students and alumni.
The festival, which also highlights the work of international directors, was a three-day event that featured a variety of film categories ranging from international documentary shorts to Black social and cultural expression, to name a few.
Daniel Walker, a professor at El Camino College started the Long Beach Indie International Film Festival in 2013, seeking to allow other filmmakers a chance to showcase their movies.
“This year we have films from at least 20 different countries,” Walker said. “Unlike music, film makes people talk. No matter what race or ethnicity, people talk about the messages. I want to make sure the festival continues, making sure there is a diversity of representation.”
Films from LBSU students and alumni included, “The Piano” by Vanessa Bloom, “The Baldwins” by India Smith, “Hey Danny” by Janine Anne Uyanga and “Ash’s Homecoming” by Joshua Hoh.
Each film highlighted a range of messages through each student’s art form touching upon sensitive issues, including sexual assault.
Uyanga’s film, “Hey Danny” the main protagonist Sarah and her friend are at a party. Shortly after Sarah bumps into her crush Danny in the bathroom, events take a turn for the worse.
Uyanga is currently a senior at LBSU and this project is one of many she has done in the past.
“From personal experience, when someone crosses the line with you the party still goes on,” Uyanga said. “This important thing can happen to someone and this has happened to me before. That message was the main thing I wanted to showcase, people are still having fun while you aren’t.”
Apart from “Hey Danny,” she is currently in the process of working on her senior project and various others outside of school.
LBSU alumni, Hoh showcased his new film, “Ash’s Homecoming,” a fan parody based on the Pokemon character Ash Ketchum. Hoh’s previous films such as film ‘Steven Spielberg and the Return to Film School’ and ‘Star Trek Wars’.
Hoh’s interpretation of what happens 20 years after the show ended is captured with a variety of animators and actors.
“I have been part of Long Beach Indie [Festival] and trying to incorporate local filmmakers into the festival giving them their spotlight,” Hoh said.
Hoh’s advice to filmmakers is to make sure they keep promises that they make to clients.
“If you’re going to accept money and favors, you make and deliver that movie in a timely fashion,” Hoh said. “It’s all about trust. If you lose that, you won’t get anywhere.”
Students who would like to submit a film to next year’s Long Beach Indie International Film Festival can send submissions to the festival’s website. Entries open in mid-December and close early March.