Student club unveils its talents at first film festival

By M.V. Moorhead

Once upon a time, a long time ago—back when I was in high school, in other words—being a member of what was then called the "Audio-Visual Club" was a badge of the nerd.

But times have changed, and cinema-mania has become respectable, even cool.

Case in point: The Student Film Club at Corona del Sol High School in Tempe was actually founded by a student, Joshua Owens.

The club mounted its inaugural Short Film Festival on Friday evening, April 22, in the CdS Little Theatre.

All of the evening's productions were the work of club members. Refreshments were served, spectators had the opportunity to vote for their favorite shorts, and there were Q&As with the makers.

According to English teacher and club sponsor Mike Wehrli, the turnout was modest but the event was still a fine success.

“A lot of the credit for this has to go to Josh,” says Wehrli.

“It wouldn’t have happened without him. Next year will be an acid test, to see if it can go on after he’s graduated.”

On the eve of his newfound recognition, Wrangler News posed the following questions to Josh:

WRANGLER: How many films were shown at the event? What genres were represented?

JOSH: The first video was an introduction video with a sort of Hollywood/action twist to arouse audience attention. Then we showed a Film Club commercial to introduce the club.

The commercial shows footage that we have shot in the past and footage that will not be fully shown in the festival. Then we got to the real movies.

The Handicapped Poet was the first movie shown. It is a drama about a young artist who is cheated on and ends up burning his work in the end. Then, we showed an experimental project created by three members of the club.

The next piece was an untitled horror film about a young boy's nightmare. And finally we showed a dark comedy called"Cinemaphilia Volume 2 which tells of a filmmaker suppressed by government censorship.

WRANGLER: How long are these films?

JOSH: The Handicapped Poet runs about 12 minutes in length. The other movies are approximately that length as well.

WRANGLER: How many members does your organization have? What department sponsors it?

JOSH: There are approximately 26 members. Our sponsor is English teacher Mr. Wehrli.

WRANGLER: How did you become interested in film?

JOSH: I remember the day I saw Star Wars on the big screen in 1997. Ever since then I knew this is what I had to do. About that same year I acted in a professional short film, and was even more interested. Since that time, I've been writing scripts, planning projects, and, of course, starting the Film Club.

WRANGLER: Do you have a favorite movie, or a couple?

JOSH: My favorite all-time film is the 1969 Russian film Andrei Rublev, which was directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. My favorite all-time directors are Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, John Cassavetes, and Zhang Yimou.

JOSH: You've been accepted into the honors program at ASU. In what subject? Do you hope to pursue film as a career?

WRANGLER: My subject of study in college will be Music Composition. I feel that music has the greatest relationship with the cinema because it can reach the human heart deeper than any other art form can.

The cinema is a mixture of all the major arts, therefore it can communicate to audiences in many different ways. I will pursue a filmmaking career on my own by starting my own LLC and tentatively naming it "PhantaCinema Pictures".

For additional information, contact Owens at joshooog@yahoo.com.