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SBCC film studies class to attend AFI film festival in Los Angeles

BARAA ALKASSIR, Channels Staff

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Film studies professor Nico Maestu and 29 students enrolled in his Film Festival Studies course will attend the American Film Institution Film Festival in Los Angeles from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16.

The two-unit five-day course is designed for students to immerse themselves in film viewing, writing, and to network with people in the industry.

“Students get to meet the filmmakers and understand the process of filmmaking,” said Maestu. “Last year for example students got to see Damien Chazelle and ask him questions. That was just 3 weeks before he received an academy award for ‘La La Land’.”

Carolina Ayala, a film production major from Brazil, said she is taking the course to expand her knowledge of cinema.

“I also want to watch the movies from the other countries. Some of these movies I will not get the chance to watch otherwise, since they will never make it to the box office.”

The class is not only targeting film students. “I get young, old, film, non-film, and international students,” said Maestu.

“There are students who take it seriously and go on to be filmmakers or critics, and there are students who are doing it for fun.”

Maestu’s mission is to make movies and media more interesting to students from an analytical point of view, while also providing them with the chance to experience the process first-hand. He said he wants his students to able to analyze media and the meaning behind it.

“Most people are consuming this stuff [media] without thinking about what they are watching, how it’s constructed, and what they [the filmmakers] are trying to say,” Maestu said.

The course was created by Maestu ten years ago. He said the idea was to have students meet filmmakers outside of the classroom so they are able to make a connection to marketplace.

Maestu also created a website for his students to post their critiques online.

“I was not familiar with Hollywood and I wanted to know more about the industry in Hollywood,” said student Larry K. Gleeson.

“It turned out to be a great opportunity for me. I met someone who worked on an Oscar nominated film, and he took me to couple of places in Hollywood, where I met other filmmakers from different places of the world.”

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SBCC film studies class to attend AFI film festival in Los Angeles