Quite a few of the biggest filmmakers these days, from Martin Scorsese to Spike Lee to Steven Spielberg, learned the basics of their art in school. USC, UCLA, New York University and Columbia University have all generated their share of talented directors.
Orange County may not be thought of as a hothouse for student filmmaking, but that doesn't mean it's not. While USC and UCLA get all the press locally, such institutions as Orange Coast College and Chapman University, among others, have active programs geared toward preparing students for careers in movies, video and television.
Interested in showing off a bit, both OCC and Chapman will present their best student work Friday night in separate festivals. Both shows (expected to run about two hours each) will feature film, video, television and computer graphics presentations. OCC picked its handful of offerings from team projects created during the past year by more than 400 students. Chapman chose from more than 30 films and presentations.
The films range from snippets (less than a minute) to more ambitious 10-minute shorts, and run the gamut from narratives to more expressionistic pieces.
Whatever the content or style, Bill Hall, an OCC film/video instructor, pointed out that the festival is important to the students because it represents as much as a year's work in some cases. The more serious filmmakers tend to transfer to four-year institutions such as USC and UCLA to further their studies.
"Many of our former students are now working in the industry," Hall said. "They're involved in feature films, music videos and industrial films."
What: Orange Coast College and Chapman University student film festivals.
When: Friday, May 15, at 8 p.m. for both programs.
Where: OCC's Forum, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa. Chapman's Waltmar Theatre, 333 N. Glassell Ave., Orange.
Whereabouts: To OCC, take the San Diego (405) Freeway to Fairview and head south. To Chapman, take the Garden Grove (22) Freeway to Glassell and head north.
Wherewithal: $3 donations accepted for OCC; Chapman is free.
Where to Call: For OCC, (714) 432-5637; for Chapman, (714) 997-6607.