By Aimee YEGHIAYAN
“The 2nd Annual Best Student Film Festival Ever!” was, as promised, not an average film festival. Created by Crescenta Valley High School graduates Chris Vinan and Ebner De Torres, the festival that was held on Friday at the Sparr Heights Community Center featured skits, musical acts and much more.
The festival had about 25 student film submissions with only the “cream of the crop” shown to the crowd. While most of the films were by CVHS past or present students, there were also two students from Clark Magnet and one from La Cañada High School represented. The wide range of genres extended from comedy to drama and kept the mood of the audience constantly changing. Skits and jokes performed by Vinan, De Torres and the rest of the backstage crew were a nice buffer between films. A notable difference from other film festivals was that there was no time limit for films.
Contrary to last year, this festival drew in support from different aspects of the community.
“We wanted to make this film festival a big community event, so we looked to schools in the community for submissions and businesses in the community for funding,” Vinan said. “We hoped to make the audience and the businesses happy by entertaining the audience and spreading our sponsors’ word.
“The community supported us in many ways; the Montrose Shopping Park Association helped promote the event since three of our winners, which will be chosen by a panel of UCLA judges and film majors, will go into the Montrose Film Festival this August.”
In addition, the event had multiple community sponsors including Montrose Pet Hospital, New Moon Restaurant, Images Salon and Day Spa, State Farm Insurance, Once Upon a Time Bookstore, and Gio’s Baguettes. Many of the sponsors donated prizes with the top prize being a Kindle Fire. 7 Stop Pizza donated food for the festival to sell, with a portion of the profits from the night benefitting local schools.
Another highlight of the night was the abundance of music. Between the Eddie Taylor Jazz Quartet that will also be at the Montrose Film Festival, and a duet by Nick Vinan and De Torres, this festival was filled with lively sounds.
“My favorite aspect of the film festival was having to film and write scripts for the performances, jokes, and two of the videos that played. It’s a lot of fun to watch the films but it is [a hundred times] more fun to actually write, direct and edit one!” Vinan said.
The winners of the festival will be announced at the Fourth Annual Montrose Film Festival on Aug. 23-24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Andersen’s Pet Shop parking lot, 2218 Honolulu Ave., at the former site of the Montrose movie theater. Scholarships will be presented to the winners.