The 71st annual Cannes Film Festival ended this past weekend, screening some of the best cinema around the world slated to release in the following months. For the first time three Sonoma State University student films were shown at the festival regarded as one of the most prestigious events in all of film, for its exclusivity, extended history and its premiering of some of the most well-known movies of all time, including “Apocalypse Now” and “Pulp Fiction.”
Featured in the festival’s Short Film Corner, the invitation only event screened junior Ryan Harvey’s “A Fist Full of Cache,” senior Jason Gorelick’s “The Undocumentary,” and recent alumnus Samuel Houser’s “Still Around.” The aurora and experience surrounding the festival has left a lasting imprint on the students. “It’s every filmmaker’s dream to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival,” said Harvey, a communications major who’s been making films since high school. “Having a film of mine in the festival is quite honestly nothing short of one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had.”
The process to getting to Cannes, France was no easy task. Every fall, Campus MovieFest travels to 45 different college campuses to provide students a platform to create their own short films. Students are given seven days to come up with an idea and make their movie, in which four from each school are chosen to be judged by CMF. From those selected films, 45 move on to Cannes. This year, Houser was awarded the Silver Tripod Award for Best Director, whose film follows a woman that keeps her deceased fiancée’s voice as her personal assistant. “It’s been an amazing experience to develop myself as a filmmaker here at SSU,” said Houser, who graduated in 2018 with distinction and a B.A. in communications.
The trip to Cannes was not the first for some of the university’s student filmmakers. This was Harvey’s second time being awarded an invitation along with Houser, who’s also worked on films that have been screened at the festival the past four years. While Gorelick may have been new to the festivities of the world’s most known cinematic screening event, he also never imagined he would be there. “Filmmaking was always a hobby for me,” said Gorelick, who also starred in Harvey’s “A Fist Full of Cache,” whose title is inspired by the 1964 flick “A Fistful of Dollars.” “I’m really proud of everyone that worked with me, especially Edgar Sanchez who allowed me to share his story. Without them this wouldn’t even have been possible in my wildest dreams.”