Assemblyman Paul Krekorian is poised to turn cameras on several youngsters during FilmFest 43

The spotlight will be directed at local artists
Assemblyman Paul Krekorian is poised to turn cameras on several youngsters during FilmFest 43.

By Ryan Vaillancourt
Glendale News Press

The prospect of a dwindling California entertainment industry at the hands of runaway production is especially daunting for Assemblyman Paul Krekorian since the local economies in his district, which includes Glendale and Burbank, lean heavily on film and television.

As part of his effort to combat the economic problem, Krekorian chairs a select legislative committee on preserving the state entertainment industry, and he’s pushing policy measures that would crack down on intellectual property theft.

But on Friday night at the Alex Theatre, Krekorian’s focus will turn to a distinctly more local initiative, free from policy speak and complex legislative analysis.

Instead of lobbying legislators, Krekorian will showcase the work of dozens of local students who have made short films for Filmfest 43, a film festival featuring submissions from young filmmakers attending high schools throughout the 43rd Assembly District.

“I thought the film festival would be an opportunity to both give high school kids an opportunity to have an outlet to demonstrate their creative talents and also to encourage them to consider careers in this area so we can continue to foster the entertainment industry workforce in Southern California,” Krekorian said.

A number of major studios are sponsoring the event, including Disney, Warner Bros, NBC-Universal, Sony Pictures and Paramount.

And judges include Mike Petros, associate professor of television at Glendale Community College; Dug Ward, an adjunct faculty member at UCLA’s Animation Workshop and a former animator for Fox’s “King of the Hill”; and Robert Peterson, who chairs the graduate film program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

The call for entry prompted more than 100 submissions, including one from Clark Magnet High School sophomore Michael Aloyan, 15, who says he sees the festival as a career opportunity.

“I’m nervous to find out if we got [accepted] or not, but it’s a pretty big deal because there’s going to be all those studio execs there, and because, you know, this is the career field that I want to go into,” Michael said.

Submissions include short narratives like Michael’s “Yesterday,” which follows a young man’s memories of love, in reverse.

“Reflection,” a silent film by John Burroughs High School junior Anna Tschetter, traces a young woman’s eerie encounter with her apparent doppelganger that moves into her house and wins her parents’ hearts.

Others include student Susan Bryant’s documentary of the Clark Magnet High School robotics team and a short Claymation love story by Ella Nepales, a student at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

“We hope to see some of these young filmmakers perhaps have their name in lights in years soon to come,” he said.

The festival starts 6:30 p.m. Friday at Alex Theatre.

The event is open to the public, and admission is free.

To RSVP for free tickets, call Krekorian’s district office at (818) 240-6330.