A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Sonoma County Student Film Festival: A socially distanced showcase of student talent

Photo by Edgar Soria Garcia
Following recent shelter-in-place orders in response to COVID-19, the Sonoma County Student Film Festival moved to Zoom videoconference where audience participate from the safety of their homes.

The show went on for the annual Sonoma County Student Film Festival, which presented student-made productions virtually, at 7 p.m April 3 via a Zoom videoconference.

Despite Santa Rosa Junior College cancelling in-person events through May 23 due to current COVID-19 shelter-in-place regulations, the festival continued online to shine a light on student creativity.

“We are proud to put this event on, despite the circumstances all of us are under,” said Meea McMath, film festival director.

The festival’s moderators compiled the 15 films into a YouTube playlist for audiences to watch at their leisure. The playlist includes: 

– “Milk” by Zack Case.

– “Trail to Nowhere” by Heather Murray and Rebecca Bell.

– “Dirt” Payton Cords.

– “Cafe” Elina Ulumbekova.

– “Why Seagoers Hate the Color Purple” by Kaden Anderson.

– “Burial” by Morgan Hamilton-Lee.

– “FIVES” by Sophie Martinez.

– “White Lies” by Zach Tracy.

– “My Medicine Living with Wegener’s Disease” by Sean Restivo.

– “The Artifact” by Elias Torres

– “Wake Up” by Kelvyn Ortiz Cuevas

– “Hometown” by Logan Thompson

– “Not Perfection” by Nicole Veum

– “Amber” by Andrew Wynkoop

– “Art of Musical Production” by Zach Case

“We did not want to push this important event back. We decided to go virtual so students could get their films seen,” said Brian Antonson, Santa Rosa Junior College communication studies instructor who teaches film production courses.

After screening the films from the comfort of their own homes, audience members could log in to Zoom to hear a presentation from each filmmaker, followed by a Q&A portion.

“I was happy to see the filmmakers participate in the Q&A. Having their input and participation has always been an integral part of the festival,” said Kaila Bohler, former Sonoma County Student Film Festival director.

After the showing, Antonson and McMath announced the winners of three awards.  

The Audience Award was given to Renaud Ducom for his film “White Lies.” The Programmer’s Award went to Rebecca Bell and Heather Murray for “Trail to Nowhere,” and Zach Case won the Screening Committee Award for his films “Milk” and “The Art of Musical Production.” 

Heather Murray’s “Trail to Nowhere” highlighted the lives of the homeless community formerly living on the Joe Rodota trail.

“What an honor! It means so much to me and Rebecca that our work was noticed in that way, especially because the content has become so important to us,” Murray said. “I can’t express enough my gratitude for the education and experience available to SRJC students. I feel like that sounds like a paid endorsement, but quite the opposite — I paid and am endorsing the program!”

The winning films will move on to Film Fest Petaluma, a local international film festival which is postponed until September.

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About the Contributors
Edgar Soria Garcia
Edgar Soria Garcia, Magazine Editor
Edgar Soria Garcia is in his final semester at The Oak Leaf; he is the magazine editor for Spring 2020. He hopes to transfer to Cal State Fullerton in the fall to get his bachelor’s in journalism. Edgar would describe himself as Shangela acting as Jennifer Lewis on Snatch Game (Rupaul’s Drag Race). Edgar is known for quoting Suga Free: “If you stay ready, you ain't got to get ready.”
Nick Vides
Nick Vides, Photo-Editor
Nicholas “Nick” Vides (he/him) Is a seasoned breaking news reporter dedicated to making sure every shutter click of his camera captures a moment worth sharing. Nick's itch for chasing fires has kept him busy over the past seven years, covering every major fire event in Northern California from the Paradise Fire to the Caldor Fire. Nick currently splits his time as a photojournalist with The Oak Leaf and as a Contract Photographer with The Press Democrat. He has more than nine years of experience with photography, has been director of photography for multiple short films with the SRJC Media Arts Center, directed numerous student-led broadcasts with his Media 19 class, and interned for The Sarah and Vinnie Show on Alice 97.3. In the little free time left, he works for Highway 12 Winery in Sonoma, California as a Cellar Hand.  

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