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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Sac City Podcast Series – The philosophy of film-making
City College theatre arts and film associate professor Robert Young on stage at the Performing Art Center. Jiaxin Lu | Staff Photographer | [email protected]

Julian Tack
Staff Reporter
[email protected]

A Young boy once found a particular film so inspiring it left him with a lifelong interest in the subject of film-making. The movie was Pulp Fiction. The boy was Robert Young, now an associate professor at the Sacramento City College film department. He has been with City College for three semesters but has been teaching the subject for six years.

Young’s interest in the film industry began when he was 12 years old. After getting grounded by his parents for breaking his father’s treadmill, he decided to secretly watch “Pulp Fiction”—a movie his dad rented at the time—late at night, and ever since he knew he wanted to learn more about film.

“I snuck downstairs to watch it,” says Young. “I got really obsessed with the movie. It showed me that films were a thing that were made, and they weren’t just a thing that dropped out of the sky — like I could have a hand in making it.”

Not only does Young teach film classes at City College, but he also creates his own films.

“I’m not just a filmmaker,” says Young. “I’m also a video artist, experimental filmmaker and video installation artist. I’ve made about five films, but I’ve done over 30 video installation performances.”
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One of Young’s video installations was shown in San Francisco at the Galleria De La Raza. His installation paid respects to the victims who were killed during the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

“I had this looped video of a disco ball that was upside down so it looked like a globe spinning, and I projected it into a window. This window was filled with a glowing disco ball that was spinning, while this window next to it was pitch black, and it had the names of all the victims that were massacred at Pulse just scrolling up endlessly,” says Young.

Some directors who inspired him were Kenneth Anger, John Waters and Robert Rodriguez.

“There’s an artist named Kenneth Anger,” says Young. “All of his movies are super inspiring to me. Another artist who I’m obsessed with — who is more mainstream but still pretty abstract and terrifying — is John Waters. His movies are some of my favorite films. Robert Rodriguez was really inspiring to me. He had this punk-rock, do-it-yourself, everyone-can-make-it feeling. If he could make it, I could make it.”

Young says that he believes the impact of film in modern society has remained as powerful today as decades ago.

“I think it means the same thing — well, for me at least,” says Young. “It tells the story of values in history. Whoever is a good guy in a movie is who we see as a good guy in society, and whoever we see as a bad guy in a movie is who we see as a bad guy in society. Art reflects life, and life reflects art, and it creates a cycle.”   


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