Diversity On Screen and Off

Fist Up festival will screen films on campus for Diversity Awareness Week


What started as a passion project for an independent filmmaker to promote diverse films lacking in funds, the 5th annual Fist Up festival has now been brought to Fresno.

As a part of Diversity Awareness Week, the 5th annual Fist Up festival came to Fresno State on Tuesday to screen “African Cypher.”

The film explores the street dance culture in South Africa and the rising popularity of the traditionally urban dance, Isipantsula, B-boying, Krump and others for dancers in underserved communities.

Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, founder of Fist Up, wanted to provide an outlet for filmmakers who were unable to submit their work to festivals due to the burden of costs.

“I thought the way the whole structure was set up was wrong, and that’s why I wanted to create this festival,” Fantauzzi said.

Fantauzzi, a filmmaker, found himself in a similar position multiple times and realized the costs of not only submitting films but promoting his films were not feasible.

“This is an outlet for independent filmmakers around the world,” Fantauzzi said. “This is to bring amazing films to communities that need to see them.”

Fresno State student Analisa Rangel Garcia helped bring the festival to campus and Fresno after attending Fist Up a year ago.

Reiterating the purpose of Diversity Awareness Week, Garcia said she wanted to have the festival to town in order to have more cultural voices seen through film.

“We don’t have many cultural events,” Garcia said. “I definitely think it brings awareness to students about different cultures through film.”
Garcia also said not only students would benefit from attending the Fist Up films, but the community as well.

“I thought the films that are a part of the festival are awesome and great,” Garcia said. “People would really love to see them because they show different parts of the world, different types of dance and culture.”

“It’s perfect for diversity week.”

Chandra Her attended the “African Cypher” screening Tuesday night for her African Studies class.

“I think events like these are great,” Her said. “I went to a similar event three years ago and I think they do help raise awareness to the different cultures that are out there.”

The festival has expanded to three cities this year instead of staying in the Bay Area where it was originated.

This was the first year it is held at Fresno State, with the next screening on Thursday at the Alice Peters Auditorium at 7 p.m. For more information on the lineup, visit www.fistup.tv.

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