This weekend, Sacramento will play host to yet another arts extravaganza. It’s not a gallery opening or an exhibition, but a homegrown film festival — the Sacramento Film and Music Festival.
The SF&MF is an all-genre film festival that attracts international artists and has been running since 1999, according to the event’s website. It was voted Best Film Festival by Sacramento News & Review in 2014.
The festival was founded by City College’s own Nathan Schemel, adjunct professor in the Theatre Arts Department. He started the festival 18 years ago after realizing that there wasn’t an outlet to showcase his senior project as a film production major. After nearly two decades of running it, the festival still is challenging for him.
“You would think that after 18 years of organizing this festival it would become easier, but it’s constantly hard,” said Schemel. “Takes a lot of time to do it, look through all the films that have been submitted and contact the filmmakers.”
More than 90 percent of the films submitted to the festival are rejected, meaning there’s a lot of work to get done. The festival gets entries from all over the world, including Australia, Europe and the United States, but there is an emphasis on local films — and there is representation from Sacramento.
Mikhala Lazetich, a political science major at City College, is a contestant in the festival. She entered in the festival’s 10×10 challenge that gives filmmakers 10 days to make a 10-minute film on a secret theme with specific required elements, including props, lines and film production styles.
“I decided to enter the 10×10 because it’s fun. Simple as that,” said Lazetich. “You get to see so many fantastic, creative people who come out just for the passion of filmmaking. The 10X10 exhausts you, but by the end of it, you have a great product to show in a few days.”
She describes her 10-minute film as a “monster film about gentrification,” and it was inspired by the changing culture in Sacramento.
“The idea for ‘Gentrified’ was to have two privileged hipsters who think they are fighting a personification of a gentrified monster, but come to slowly understand that they themselves are part of a bigger issue,” said Lazetich.
Lazetich said putting the piece together was a difficult process.
“Trying to do a satire in under 10 minutes was super silly. We learned that one real fast,” said Lazetich. “However, the most difficult part is making sure our underlying message isn’t lost in the humor while the film is still entertaining, and that people do learn something or reflect on their own lives.”
For this year’s festival, students expect to see some out-of-the ordinary film-making.
“I’m taking filmmaking this semester, so that’s how I know about the festival,” said graphic design major Tanish Jindal, who will be attending the festival on Sunday. “I’m excited about it because you get to watch a lot of movies, and every movie has its own style, so you get to learn a lot and meet new people.”
The organizers have their own set of expectations.
“I expect to be very tired,” said Schemel, laughing.
Schemel believes the festival helps people, especially the art community, to connect and broaden their horizons.
“Every festival has its own flavor and different surprises to it,” said Schemel. “I hope that my audience sees things that they haven’t seen before and be inspired by it.”
The 18th annual Sacramento Film & Music Festival started Sept. 22 and will run until Sept. 24 at Memorial Auditorium’s Jean Runyon Little Theatre and Esquire IMAX in Midtown.
Anyone interested in seeing Gentrified can do so on Sunday, Sept. 24, at Esquire IMAX where all of the 10×10 challenge films will be screened.
For more information on the festival, visit http://www.sacfilm.com/attending-the-fest/ .