The smell of salty, buttered popcorn. Old, two-armed chairs holding soft drinks and dimmed, cinema lights.
An adventure ensues when the red curtains draw back, though many moviegoers are not aware of the behind-the-scenes process of filmmaking.
Designers, filmmakers and directors from Disney and Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic are coming to San Luis Obispo for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF). The festival will begin Wednesday on Cal Poly’s campus. Students will be given the opportunity to discuss the future of film with these representatives, as well as the work it takes to see a film come to fruition.
“It’s a really great opportunity to meet and talk with people you normally never get access to,” English associate professor, liberal arts and engineering studies program director and panel moderator David Gillette said.
A panel and discussion with a member of Disney’s Animation Studio as well as other filmmakers and designers will take place in Robert E. Kennedy Library from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room 111H.
“They’re going to be talking about the future of cinema, the technology behind the work that they do,” Gillette said. “I’ll have some questions for them, but mostly I’ll just open it up so they can take questions from the audience.”
Later that day, the Opening Night Gala will be held. The gala is a tribute to Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic and this year’s SLOIFF Spotlight Award recipient, filmmaker Leslie Iwerks. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception in the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center.
There will be a screening of Iwerks’ “Industrial Light & Magic — Creating the Impossible” at 7 p.m. in Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre.
Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion with Iwerks, Production Designer Mark “Crash” McCreary, ILM Animation Supervisor Hal Hickel and Visual Effects expert Warren Franklin. There will also be an after-party at Luis Wine Bar from 9 to 11 p.m.
Art and design junior and Concept Creation Club president Jessica Fong helped in preparation for Wednesday’s events by organizing guest speakers.
“They have some great people coming that I’m sure will have a lot of insight,” Fong said. “I know a lot of people don’t know about the behind-the-scenes and how movies are made, so this will be a good eye-opener.”
Students will be able to receive insight into film from professionals through the various events.
This year’s festivities are different than last year’s, Gillette said.
“The difference is that we’re actually running the film on campus for the first time, we’re actually bringing the whole film festival here to campus and we’d like to see if we can keep that arrangement going because it’s been really nice to get students interested in the film festival and bring the festival to campus,” he said.
The opening night’s events are geared toward students interested in film.
“If they’re really interested in film, and especially if they’re interested in film careers or they’re interested in getting into the industry, we are deliberately designing the evening event to talk about the career aspect of this work,” Gillette said.
However, the festivities are open to all majors.
“The film industry basically uses every major possible,” Fong said. “They use computer science, engineers, writers, artists. They consult all of those majors when making films, so it would be beneficial for students to go.”
But the festival goes beyond Cal Poly.
Leslie Iwerks Productions, Inc. production coordinator and Cal Poly alumna Jackie Turlik has been to the SLOIFF in years past.
“I would say (the festival is) really small and quaint, but it’s really personal so you really get to see a lot of things, meet a lot of people, experience different things and it brings film production to a small city,” Turlik said.
Gillette echoed the idea of bringing people together for the love of film for the festival.
“(It’s) a great way of celebrating the Central Coast, bringing people from all over the state here and actually all over the country,” Gillette said.
General tickets are on sale for $30 and $20 for students and the SLOIFF Film Society.
Other upcoming SLOIFF events include a “Surf Nite After-Party” on March 7 and a Paso Robles “Tasting Room Crawl.”