For journalism senior Michael Frank, storytelling through film has always been a passion. From a young age, he began writing and creating his own films and acknowledges the power movies have on emotions.
“In an hour-and-a-half film, you can become so attached to the characters that you can cry. That’s incredible to me,” Frank said. “All of it comes from the creative minds of [a] group of people.”
It is this fascination, along with his drive to leave an impact on the community, that led Frank to create a platform for young filmmakers to show their work to a wider audience.
The 25 Under 25 Film Fest
Last June, Frank came up with the idea for a film festival: the 25 Under 25 Film Fest. This festival invites 25 individuals younger than the age of 25 who reside in California to produce films that are less than 25 minutes. It will take place May 19-20, 2018 at the Palm Theatre, but the deadline to submit a film is Jan. 31, 2018.
Film genres range from animations to dramas, but they share one common trait: they are all short films created by young people.
“The whole reason for it is that we’re trying to highlight young filmmakers,” Frank said. “I have realized that when you’re in college, you’re making films and you’re really trying to practice your craft but there is no platform for you to show those films.”
He realized the importance of creating this platform after witnessing the excitement his peers felt when seeing their own films on the big screen.
“I was thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome if more students, more young people had a chance to show their works on a bigger screen and to show their works to a bigger audience?’” Frank said.
With this in mind, Frank decided to reach out to others to bring his idea forward.
“I realized that I couldn’t do this alone very early on,” Frank said. “In order to create an event that will leave an impact, I had to reach out to everybody and anybody that would listen.”
More than a one-man show
Frank collaborated with many people and organizations. Sponsorship from Arts Obispo, a local non-profit that runs art events in San Luis Obispo, will give the event non-profit status.
Frank’s peers contributed to the planning of this event as well. One of these peers is journalism senior Roya Forooghi, whose primary focus is to reach out to film departments at various colleges around California.
“I love movies and when I heard that he was doing this, I wanted to help in any way that I could,” Forooghi said.
Another person involved is psychology junior Erin Regan, the creator of the event’s logo.
“I love short movies, art and student-run shenanigans so hopping in was easy,” Regan said.
A rewarding selection process
With about 70 films submitted, Frank relies on help from his peers to watch and critique them.
“We’re not looking for something that is Hollywood-ready. Just make a movie about something you’re passionate about,” Frank said.
The 25 participants chosen for the film fest will receive two-day accommodations at the KOA campground in Avila Beach, all expenses paid. According to Frank, this experience will allow the filmmakers to make lasting connections.
“I want to create an environment where these filmmakers can interact and maybe collaborate in the future,” Frank said.
The two-day film fest will include the full screenings of all 25 short films and a Q-and-A portion with the filmmakers. It will be open to anyone who wants to come. The top three films will receive $2,500 in prizes.
The impact for young people
Frank admits that the making of this event has had its ups and downs.
“There have been a bunch of times where I felt that this was too big of a project to handle,” Frank said. “But I’ve realized that this is one of the first things I’ve ever done that is really going to make an impact.”
It’s the people who have instilled their faith in him that have really pushed him forward during these months.
“It is inspiring to see him doing something he has probably dreamed of, and it all starts at the small scale. This whole event is about putting action to ideas, for the event planners, filmmakers and all involved,” Regan said.
As a final note, Frank mentioned that students in general often face rejection. However, this should not shut down the great ideas that come from the minds of the future generation.
“I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit,” Frank said. “As a young person, if you have an idea, you have to act on it. Passion is the driving force that makes an idea happen.”