Randi Barros | Courtesy Photo

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival taking place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Palm Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo will feature the works of Cal Poly students.

These films will be shown during the “Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase,” also known as the Cal Poly Short Cuts. The showcase encompasses a program of short films written, produced and directed by Cal Poly students.

According to screenwriting and film production professor Randi Barros, the program is a collaboration between Media Arts and Technologies: Cinematic Process (ISLA 341) and Digital Video II (ART 483).

According to Barros, these films take almost two full quarters to complete.

“[The process] actually starts in the fall quarter [in Media Arts and Technologies: Storytelling (ISLA 340)], where students write screenplays. Then, in the winter quarter, these students go on to take ISLA 341,” Barros said. “Here, they pitch their screenplays to both ISLA 341 and ART 483 students, who vote on them. Since we had 32 students this year with the two classes combined, we chose the top eight.”

Randi Barros | Courtesy Photo

Working in groups of four, the students worked on the real-life, hands-on production of eight films. After selecting the films, the groups held casting sessions and encouraged members of the San Luis Obispo acting community and the Cal Poly Theatre & Dance Department to audition.

Students then cast their films, scouted locations, drew up storyboards and began preparation for their films. Production, filming and editing took place over the duration of Winter 2018.

Journalism junior Leah Castillo is one of the students to be showcasing her hard work. Castillo will be featuring her film “Nail Polish.”

“’Nail Polish’ is about a shy, young boy whose secret, successful fashion and beauty YouTube channel gets ousted by a homophobic bully,” Castillo said. “The story centers in on friendship and breaking through rigid gender roles.”

The eight films convey stories of self-discovery through love, loss and lots of laughter while transcending generations. For many of these students, it is only their first or second time undertaking the production of a film. Graphic communication junior Hitesh Bansal is both excited and nervous for the festival.

“I got attached to this film over time because I found it to have a great message and I was able to express that message through some of my past experiences,” Bansal said.

Bansal’s film “The Desk” is about two middle school boys fighting over a desk next to their crush. The boys brainstorm new ideas every morning on how to be the first one to “The Desk.”

“Hopefully those ideas translate well from paper to visual and everyone can find a little feel-good childhood moment to relive,” Bansal said. “Our goal was to make the film very fun-loving and upbeat and we hope that everyone has a good experience by the end of the viewing at the event.”

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $5 for Film Society members and free for students.

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