The First Porterville Film Festival will occur Wednesday, December 1 at Porterville's Galaxy Theater from 5 to 7 p.m.

It's free and open to the public. The festival is organized and hosted by the students in the Multimedia & Technology Academy at Monache High School.

Middle school and high school video production students from Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties were invited to participate in a video competition. Nearly 50 teams registered for the event, representing schools from all four counties. These include entries from Alta Sierra Intermediate, Exeter High School, Harmony Magnet Academy, Kern High School District, Lemoore High School, and Monache High School. 

Students were provided a specific prompt and given two weeks to complete their short films. While the amount of time was limited, it was intended to give students a hint of real-world situations they might encounter in the film industry; famous (or infamous) for its fast-paced nature. The videos produced by the students are simply phenomenal, and the top ones will be featured at the film festival Wednesday. 

All great film festivals have a Jury who scores the videos, and the Porterville Film Festival is no different. This year’s jury features multiple business professionals working within and adjacent to the industry of Arts, Media, and Entertainment. The primary Jury was composed of Lawrence Moran, Kyle Lowe, Kate Stover, Christina Clausen, Roger Perez, Jose Hernandez, Lillian Dissi, and Kate Smith. 

Lawrence Moran is a professional actor working in Hollywood, known for a variety of film and television roles, including Straight Outta Compton, The Mentalist, and Diff’rent Strokes. Kyle Lowe is a filmmaker and producer at the Community Media Access Collaborative in Fresno. Kate Stover is the Staff Development & Curriculum Specialist for Visual, Performing, and Media Arts at the Tulare County Office of Education. Christina Clausen is the director of the Porterville Chamber of Commerce. Roger Perez is the Director of Communications and Community Relations at Porterville College. Jose Hernandez is a filmmaker, and graduate of Cal State University Northridge’s Film program. Lillian Dissi is a local artist, painter, and graphic design instructor. Kate Smith is a Board Member at The Barn Theater. 

Additional video scoring was completed by Porterville Unified School District staff members, including Tammy Keith, Sonya Lopez, and Raul Bermudez. Tammy Keith is the Assistant Principal at Monache High School. Sonya Lopez is the Technical Job Developer for PUSD’s Pathway Program. Raul Bermudez is a school counselor at Monache High School. 

The Porterville Film Festival’s Jury Team volunteered their time to watch and score all the videos. More importantly, they offered positive feedback and constructive criticism for each individual video. Those comments will be shared with the filmmakers after the festival in the hope they will help the students reflect on their work and improve their skills. 

The event on December 1 will begin promptly at 5 p.m. Audience members are encouraged to arrive early to secure their seat. The festival will begin with a showcase of the top 10 videos that aren't receiving awards from the Festival Jury. These 10 videos are worth praise and attention, and they will each be eligible for the Audience Award at the Porterville Film Festival. This award will be voted on by the audience members in attendance, and given out the same night. 

Following the Audience Award presentation, the evening will showcase some of the best student-made videos from the various schools that participated in the festival. These videos aren't part of the competition, and will serve as a celebration of the accomplishments of the students, and also an interlude while votes are being tallied for the Audience Award. 

After the video showcase, the Jury Awards will be given out. The award ceremony will begin with the Audience Award, followed by First Place Award for the Middle School Division. Next will be awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place for the High School Division. The first place winners from both divisions will receive Gift Baskets from the Galaxy Theatre, which is so graciously sponsoring the event. Special thanks goes to the Galaxy Theatre team, especially Assistant General Manager Belia Sierra.

The San Joaquin Valley has a vibrant arts community. One need look no further than Porterville’s Galaxy Theater on Wednesday, December 1 at 5 p.m. The FirstPorterville Film Festival will be a fun-filled night, and a great way to support the local community. Please join us! 

Bobby Styles studied Film at UCLA, and worked as an editor and producer on several film, commercial, and music video projects in Los Angeles. He currently teaches the intermediate and advanced Video Production courses in the Multimedia & Technology Academy at Monache High School. His column appears in The Recorder every Tuesday. 

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