River Deep focuses spotlight on student filmmakers

River Deep focuses spotlight on student filmmakers

River Deep Student Film Festival, Rio Hondo College

Rio Hondo College focused the spotlight on aspiring student filmmakers with its 5th Annual River Deep Student Film Festival, a joint collaboration between the Division of Communications and Languages and the Division of Arts and Cultural Programs. The festival is the brainchild of professors Tom Callinan and Sheila Lynch.

“We were giving extra-credit options for film projects,” said Lynch, who is a professor of Art History. “We got so many and they were so good. We decided to start the film festival.”

The River Deep Student Film Festival is presented as a part of the Annual Writes of Spring, a yearly celebration of writers and writing. River Deep is a festival in two parts over two days. The first day is when the student film entries are premiered to the public.

“This year we had nine films entered into the festival for consideration,” said Callinan, who teaches Cinema as Literature. “The number of entries fluctuates.”

This year’s nine entries were divided into two categories; Microshort and Short Film. There were 1st and 2nd place Judge’s Awards for both categories. The audience had a chance to vote for their favorites and the single winners of that voting were presented with an Audience Award. The 2015 winners were:

Judges Award: Microshort
1st Place: Passengers by Alberto Sampieri
2nd Place: P18156 by Andrew Santacruz

Audience Award: Microshort
P18156 by Andrew Santacruz

Judge’s Award: Short Film
1st Place: Premeditative by Andrew Santacruz
2nd Place: Incoming Call… by Sergio Ruiz

Audience Award: Short Film
Premeditative by Andrew Santacruz

In addition to the festival’s awards, the second day features a guest speaker, and this year’s speaker was Jill D’Agnenica. As per her Bio, D’Agnenica is a visual artist, filmmaker, and mother of two girls. She works as a film and television editor, currently on ABC Family’s Switched at Birth. She has also produced and edited several independent films. Her directorial debut, Life Inside Out, won Best Premiere at the Heartland Film Festival in 2013 and has since screened at 17 festivals throughout the US, receiving 15 awards, including 4 Best Feature and 4 Audience Awards. D’Agnenica received her MFA in visual arts from Claremont Graduate University and a BA, Magna Cum Laude, in Cultural and Intellectual History from UCLA. Life Inside Out had a limited theatrical release last fall and became available on DVD on April 21.

The River Deep Student Film Festival is open to students currently enrolled at Rio Hondo College. Students must write, direct, shoot, and edit their own work, alone or in collaboration with other Rio Hondo College students; however, they may receive guidance and help from teachers and professionals. The primary work, however, must be performed by the students. Students may use actors of any age to play different roles.

The festival’s primary categories are Microshort (under five minutes in length) and Short Film (between 5-12 minutes in length). All genres are being accepted. The River Deep Student Film Festival does not impose restrictions upon the art form of its entries. Films can be live action, animation, claymation, still photography or any combination.

“We started off strong,” said Callinan, “and it’s gotten better every year.”

Download the Rio Hondo College app on your Apple or Android device to see a full list and descriptions of the 2015 River Deep Student Film Festival entries and to see previews of next year’s festival. The App can be found by searching for Rio Hondo Community College District in the Apple App Store or in Google Play. The app is free.

Sheila Lynch and Tom Callinan can be contacted directly with any questions about the festival by email.

[email protected]
[email protected]