“Hi Jessenia. Do you think you can take an Uber to the theater? I’m stuck in traffic and by the time I get to your house, we won’t be able to make it to the festival on time. Ask your mom if it’s okay with her”, replies Diana.
“ Okay. I’ll ask”
I quickly walked towards my mother’s room and got confirmation that I may take an Uber.
“She said that’s fine”
“Okay. I’ll see you there”.
The recent memory replays in my head as I sit in my Uber and I’m anxiously waiting to be dropped off at Regal LA Live & 4DX theater on the corner of Olympic Blvd and Georgia St. My heart is pounding from excitement and anticipation. I have little knowledge about film festivals. All I know is that they’re films made by college students who are aspiring to be directors and are looking for feedback on how to make their film better.
“Is it okay if I drop you off here across the street from the theater” asks my Uber Driver, Sams.
“Oh, yeah that’s fine,” I reply once I tune back in from within my thoughts.
After closing the door, I walk to the corner and cross the street to enter the theater. It’s very fancy and grand looking. I take a second to look at the clearly very expensive and well profited theater. After the initial shock wears off, I scan the food and drinks area for Diana and her friends. With the recent amount of amber alerts for abducted teens in my mind, I’m hyper aware of my surroundings and take notice of the people around me.
Diana is a friend of my mom. She and I haven’t known each other for long but we clicked well. I had previously been invited to a salsa event at the GardenWalk in Anaheim by her. Based on how much fun I had been at that event, I knew the film festival was going to be worth my time.
As I scan the area once more I see Diana and her friend whom I’ve previously met. I lock my eyes with Diana and raise my hand to show her I’m here. We wait a few minutes for her other friends to arrive and once they do we quickly walk to a table where a nice lady smiles, hands us a yellow strip of paper and a ballot, and says “Have a nice time!”.
When we enter the theater we quickly realize that we might have to split up. The theater is packed with people. The only chairs left were the ones in the very front row. You know, the ones where the sound is especially loud and you have to strain your neck up to see the screen. Yeah, those.
Once I’m seated I look down and strain my eyes to see the yellow strip of paper that was handed to me before. It was a list of all the films that we were going to see in order. I come to the realization that romance films and drama films are separate. I had thought that they were both incorporated into the films.
Due to Diana’s friends arriving a bit late, we had missed most of the first film, A Turban & A Beard. I read the description of the films on the yellow paper for the Drama series, curious as to what I’m going to be watching.
1st HALF – DRAMA
A TURBAN AND A BEARD, 8min, Canada, Drama
Directed by Jaskaran Singh
Witness three stories told over two decades shedding light on Sikh hate crimes in one nation.
SHOOTER, 11min., USA, Drama
Directed by Jan Johnson Goldberger
Coach Michelle “Shooter” Barnes encounters a ruckus in the school locker room after recess and attempts to intercede.
LATE, 9min., USA, Drama
Directed by Anton Saich
A young girl waits to get picked up from soccer practice when an unexpected stranger arrives.
HAYLEY, 11min., USA, Drama/Thriller
Directed by Michael Dolha
A three hour flight becomes a race against time for a 24 year old neurotic flight attendant.
MODERATION and BREAK
“Huh”, I think to myself.
“I wonder what moderation means.”
It wasn’t until the films had ended that I figured out the meaning of moderation. I couldn’t help but think I was in my English class when the moderation began because it felt just like discussing an excerpt or movie in class. The same lady who handed out the-what was essentially a table of contents- yellow papers and ballots began to talk into a microphone. She explained to the audience in the theater that we hit what is called the moderation part of the event; we were to give our opinion on a chosen film while our response was being recorded for the directors to later see.
We went down the list and about 5 people each gave their opinion on each of the films. I kept wanting to give my opinion but due to my anxiety and timidness I just sat and listened to other people give their criticism. Even Diana gave her opinion on the film SHOOTER. After we finished going down the drama series, there was a short 10 minute break.
“ Hey Diana. I’m going to get something to drink real quick,” I said.
“Okay, hurry back though,” she replied.
I rise from my seat and quickly maneuver my way down the row, repeatedly saying “excuse me”. I practically race with other people to get to the snack section to quickly get a refreshment. I thought for sure I was going to miss some of the first romance film but luckily I made it back in time. Curious as to see the films that I was patiently waiting for, I quickly read the rest of the yellow strip of paper.
2nd HALF – ROMANCE
AN ASPIRATIONAL SPACE, 8min, USA, Drama
Directed by GG Hawkins
After her relationship abruptly ends, a woman isolates herself in a new apartment. An attempt to rebuild her life.
BOOKENDS, 6min, USA, Romance/Drama
Directed by Lai Jiang
An empty-nester couple rekindle their flame after realizing how much they love and care about each other.
LOVE IN SEASONS, 6min., USA, Romance/Drama
Directed by Eleni Rivera
Even when love begins or ends, the seasons will continue to change.
PROM QUEENS, 4min., USA, Romance/Teen
Directed by Cory Souto
A girl who doesn’t want to be at the school dance decides to make a bold move.
LIFT, 13min., USA, Comedy
Directed by Juliet Johnson & Venita Ozols-Graham
Jed is just getting over his 7-year relationship with Maisie. Then she gets into the Uber he drives. He is over nothing.
The romance series had more professionalism in the context that their films had better quality than the drama series. I especially enjoyed the last film LIFT. The incorporation of comedy with any genre is the right move to go. Just like in the drama series, five people each gave their feedback for every film in the Romance section. Unfortunately, I had to leave before then.
The event was definitely worth the time. It was a lot of fun and I especially loved just how many people go. I have to admit that at first I didn’t like it but somewhere between the films it began to grow on me. I will include the details for the next event below if anyone should be interested. I wholeheartedly recommend that you go and check it out.
RSVP Upcoming Event. Email festival at firstname.lastname@example.org
Festival runs on the first Thursday of every single month in 2020.
UPCOMING 2020 FESTIVALS:
February 6th- Experimental/Dance/Music
March 5th- LGBT
April 2nd- Female Directors
May 7th- Action/Sci-Fi/ Thriller