What started as a community group’s efforts to bring independent films to Fresno in response to a lack of diversity on screen has now blossomed into the Fresno Film Festival.
This weekend marked the 10th year of the festival, organized by Fresno Filmworks, a non profit staffed entirely by volunteers that screens independent movies every second Friday of the month at the Tower Theatre.
The festival has been put on since 2005 in April but in recent years has seen a slow but steady growth in attendance, said Jefferson Beavers, president of Fresno Filmworks.
Fresno Filmworks recently celebrated its 12-year anniversary. Community members who saw a need for experimental and independent films to be shown without having to go outside of Fresno founded it in 2002.
This year’s selection of films offered a wide variety of genres and cultures. The films are foreign and independent films outside of the usual lineup seen at commercial theaters, said Beavers.
Nineteen movies from 11 different countries and 14 shorts were screened out of 130 submissions the festival committee received this year.
Seven short and feature-length movie programs were held, featuring post-film discussions with the filmmakers and producers.
The Q&A sessions with the filmmakers were to provide an “interactive experience” with the audience, said Beavers.
Although there were no definitive changes to this year’s festival, Beavers said the focus was mostly on international work.
“Particularly for the festival, we put together a really strong cultural lineup that gives people different voices to hear from,” Beavers said.
Central Valley natives David Dibble and Joell Hallowell directed two shorts, “Adonis” and “Somehow” respectively.
Dibble, a Hanford native, shot and filmed “Adonis” at his parents’ house in Hanford in 2013. The partly animated short tells a story of a young man who uses a dog from a dating service to quell his romantic woes.
Although Dibble was not present at the festival, he said the event is a “good thing for the community to have a variety of movies.”
Dibble also had advice for local filmmakers who want to get into the industry.
“If this is the only thing you want to do, go for it,” Dibble said.