Cameras flash as well-dressed students walk across a red carpet and pose for photos in front of a decorated backdrop. The auditorium has been transformed from a classroom into a classy theater with gold and black balloons and small electric candles lighting the aisles to the stage, where a table of beautiful awards and a large film screen awaits. Sonoma State University's third annual Cinenoma film festival took place April 27 on campus, where nine short films written, produced, directed by and starring SSU students were screened and awarded.
"Not to take away from previous years, which were also fun events, but this was easily the most successful and well produced of our Cinenoma film festivals," said communications Professor Ed Beebout.
This year saw nine submissions including comedy, drama, thriller and other genres. Many film entries came from Beebout's students, who used SSU's facilities and equipment to help bring their vision to the big screen.
The award for Best Picture went to Miles Levin for his short film "Little Soldiers." The film begins with children playing innocently in the woods, arguing about made-up rules and hiding from each other until they happen upon something sinister in the forest, leaving the audience with goosebumps. Levin also won the award for best cinematography but was unable to attend to accept his awards.
One moving piece called "Prequel," written by and starring Bria Gabor was meant to raise awareness about human trafficking and features a young girl getting ready for a night out on the town, only to reveal that she is actually a victim of human trafficking being forced to get ready in order to entice potential customers. Gabor won best actress for her portrayal of the victim.
The physical awards, a collaboration between Studio Blue and Sonoma State art students, were made from Redwood and smoothed into interesting and beautiful shapes. Studio Blue Manager Sam Houser was practically beaming as he described their meaning. "Redwoods are so iconic and representative of Northern California," he said. "I'm so glad Emily Kuehn was able to pull these together in time, and she did such an amazing job."
Cinenoma is produced and put on solely by SSU students and is not associated with the annual Campus Movie Fest national competition.