Valencia films showcased


The 17th Annual Valencia Film Festival kicked off on Thursday night at the East Campus with three short movies followed by a feature film with messages that left the audience thinking.

“All of these films were made by Valencia students,” said Ralph Clemente, head of the Theatre Department. “The featured films were partnered with industries.”

The night started off with the short film “Moments Like These,” which lead the audience through the life and death of a son through his father’s eyes, followed by a moment with the son’s young child who lived on.

“I wanted this film to show what comes from being a good father,” said director Jermey Hicks before explaining the sense of legacy he was trying to bring across in the first short.

“Welcome Home” was the second short film, written and directed by spouses Joshua and Loren Marie Story, which depict a Marine veteran’s struggle to find himself after coming home from the war.

“The inspiration was from self because I was a Marine,” said Joshua Story, who played the main character in the film, before members of the audience corrected him with a kind reminder of “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” This led Story to smile and agree.

The final short film, “The Journal,” had a message that was slightly hard to grasp until Alex Bright, the writer and director, explained the story behind it.

It is based off of an online novel Bright had written about a young man who suffered from depression and an estrangement from his parents before his tragic death. His private journal is later brought to his mother, which clues her into the fact that he had been gay and was hiding it from his family.

“It’s really about not wanting to die without your family and friends knowing who you are,” said Bright. “The short film is an introduction to more, if it is accepted.”

Jazzmin Band, a smooth jazz quartet, treated the audience to a live performance during the intermission, playing songs which were part of the soundtrack to the upcoming featured film, “My Fair Lidy.”

The feature portrayed the story of a young man trying to make some extra cash to help his girlfriend by temporarily becoming a drag performer. Temporarily turns into full time and before he knows it. Lidy is being re-awakened to his dream of being an actor and forming a close friendship with the successful drag performer, Miss Sal, while losing old friendships at the same time.

“What I loved about the movie was that Lidy doesn’t turn gay in the end,” said Leigh Shannon, one of the producers and also the actor who played Miss Sal. “He remains the straight guy who just followed his dream.”

“My Fair Lidy” had the audience completely engaged from beginning to end. Laughter and gasps could be heard throughout the theatre and various times during the showing, leading one to believe that the movie had done its job. It got the audience invested in the characters, which was a great thing considering that the film had only taken 18 days to film.

“This was a timely story that we could get people to get behind,” said Sandi Bell, the Executive Producer, after making mention of all of the gay teen suicide that were happening around the country at the time that she had gotten the script.

“My Fair Lidy” has recently been picked up by Blairwood Entertainment, which will soon be showing the film in Berlin. The cast and producers are hopeful that it will do well.

“To me, life is really about love,” said Clemente. “This film really had something to say.”