By Jandean Deocampo
Themes of abstraction, affection and appreciation lit the cinema of Roxie Theater during the second annual Festival of the Moving Image, culled from video works by City College students.
The collection of 27 five-minute to six-minute shorts by students in the cinema and broadcast electronic media arts departments played on Nov. 8.
Images of industrial landscapes, ghost haunts and political commentary illuminated the crowd of some 50 students, faculty and friends, joined by newly-elected trustee Rafael Mandelman.
Robin Magnet’s opening short “Would You Look At That” shows different textures of pavement, fence and ironwork in a chaotic observation of typical San Francisco surfaces. The combination of intense hard rock music and suspenseful panning close-ups causes the viewer to pay attention to the complexity of these manmade features.
“It navigates the borders and edges of self-expression,” instructor Misha Antonich said. “There was a lot of work that was surreal, artistic and pushed the envelope without being self-involved.”
Cinema instructors Lise Swenson and Mike Shannon, along with seven students, booked the venue, wrote the program and introduced the festival. They also hosted the raffle, after party and ran the house for the entire night—an unusual step outside City College’s usual campus-centric grounds.
Nico Henderson’s “Tribute to Father Richard Purcell” is a documentary about a mural by artist Laura Campos, dedicated to a Franciscan friar who ran a homeless shelter for AIDS victims in the Mission. A photograph in the film showed Purcell being pushed in a wheelbarrow by one of the AIDS victims.
“It was pretty cool,” Campos said of her appearance on the big screen.
Henderson had seen Campos at work on the mural near her home and decided to do a documentary on her.
“I’ve never been on screen before,” Campos said.
Among documentaries, abstract musical art pieces and funny or dramatic short stories, “Fantasmas,” by filmmaker Martha Jante, is a humorous, nonfiction short that looks into the haunted science building at Ocean campus, and “The Altered Lives of Lavonne Salleé,” by Jazmine Jamias, is about an artist who makes a living altering Barbie dolls into works of art.
Collage pieces wowed the audience with special effects and eye-catching graphics blended into “found” film segments. “Behind Shattered Glass,” by filmmaker Chandra Reyes, is a surreal narrative of a girl trapped in Alice’s wonderland and uses monochrome and desaturated lenses to capture the haunting nature of the story.
Political themes permeated the night’s selection of films, including the commentary of “An Open Letter,” by Tom Ellis, and the activism coverage of “Occupy the Capital,” by Mark Castillo.
Prominent among the narrative pieces were “Bleeding Out,” by Michaela Higgins, a story about an African American man unjustly shot by the police, and “Herself,” by Livia Sa Dos Santos, a photographer’s vicarious journey through the streets of San Francisco.
It is difficult for film students to find work, having to search in a field where the majority of jobs are significantly less than the number of people interested in the field.
The donation-funded festival shows that passion for showcasing film and hosting film-related events is more important to students than getting paid for it.
“At the end of the day, you have to say ‘this is what I like to do,’” Antonich said. “‘I will pay my dues for it.’”
Follow Deocampo on Twitter: @bananaisafruit