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Local landmarks and actors were showcased on the silver screen as the Crocker Art Museum hosted the 12th annual A Place Called Sacramento film festival Feb. 2 in collaboration with Access Sacramento, the local public access television station.
(Image by: Matthew Blackburn)
The sleek, modern auditorium was packed with local actors, directors, moviegoers and Crocker members through 105 minutes of 10 short films—10-minutes each—of varying genres.
As part of the Crocker’s Thursdays ‘til 9 series, drama gave way to horror and mystery, but the audience found themselves humored with nearly every film.
“Am I in hell?” asked the hallucinating drunkard in “The Watering Hole.”
“No, you’re still in Sacramento,” replied a man at the bar.
The audience erupted with hysterical laughter.
“I’m not a Sacramento native, so hearing about this film festival is a really neat experience for me,” said Rika Nelson, coordinator and facilities associate of the Crocker Art Museum. “When you watch this film festival, every scene—you just get that great feeling, ‘I’ve been there! I know these people!’”
Every February, Access Sacramento kicks off the film project with scriptwriting and production workshops. Several hundred scripts are entered by April, but only 10 are chosen in May to begin production using Access Sacramento’s studios, production equipment and gear.
“In the year 2000, we looked around Sacramento and realized that there were many folks who were interested in making movies,” said Ron Cooper, executive director of Access Sacramento, “and feeling very talented without any kind of opportunity to express those skills and abilities—particularly actors in the community.”
Stories varied in artistic style and ability. Many of the writers who had their scripts chosen had no writing or film experience.
Some films portrayed a low-budget feel, while others showed off their special effects—a Sacramento police officer flexed his super-hero strength with lightning bolts that sparked from his hands.
First-time screenwriter and director Joyce Bezazian won ‘audience choice’ at the premier of the A Place Called Sacramento film festival in October for her film “The Break Up.”
“It was pretty exciting!” said Bezazian. “I didn’t expect it.”
Bezazian had no previous experience writing, directing or working with actors.
“I’m very resourceful and a quick learner, so I just put everything together and jammed,” Bezazian said. “In college I wanted to do scriptwriting for TV, but then my family said I should do something more practical, so I did. Then my partner said, ‘There’s a class, you should take it.’”
Bezazian only had an hour to register for the class because it started the very next day.
“I was shocked that they picked it, which is why I wasn’t even slightly prepared,” Bezazian said.
Bezazian’s film about an obsessed Sacramento Kings’ fan was a favorite among the audience at the Crocker — no one could have known it was a rookie’s film.
When it came to the puns toward Sacramento, patrons continued to laugh about the one-liners.
“The digs in Sacramento were pretty good,” said Christine Kenny.
“Ten minutes is tough,” said Patrick Monahan who has taken screenwriting classes in the past. “There were some little, hidden gems.”
The Crocker Art Museum is located at 216 O St. Visit Crocker Art Museum’s website to find out more about the Thursday ‘til 9 series. For information about A Place called Sacramento, please visit Access Sacramento’s website.