Behind the Story: 25/25 Film Festival Brings Young Filmmakers Together

Cal Poly is full of young students with great ideas and stories to tell.  As a school of almost 21,000, the list of students to talk about is seemingly endless.

Michael Frank, a senior journalism student, had an idea he successfully turned into reality and we thought it would be a perfect thing to report on.  Group member Brian Robbins said he “really enjoyed working on this project because Michael was really passionate about the festival and you could tell by just talking to him about it. It was nice to work on a project about someone who really cared about what they were doing.”

After learning about Frank’s 25/25 Film Fest, colleagues and bystanders were curious as to what the festival was about, though all didn’t think he could succeed.  As journalism seniors at Cal Poly, just like Frank, our senior project group wanted to learn more and tell not only Frank’s story, but the story of young adults making an impact.  I, myself was in the same dorm as him freshman year so when I reached out to him about doing the story, “it was exciting to see someone I knew in their very first days at Cal Poly have grown into someone so successful.”

The issue we ran into was the angle to take when writing our story.  We couldn’t simply feature Frank, so we had to really try and focus our story on what the festival was about and the platform it gave to young adults.

Through many trials and tribulations, Frank was able to successfully execute his vision and the 25 Under 25 Fest was born.  The event took place at The Palm Theatre on May 19 and 20.  Over 300 tickets were sold and those in attendance thought the event was a big success. Chase Canevari, a supporter of the festival, said it was “great to see a fellow CP student excelling and hosting the festival.  It was great to see all of these young, amazing filmmakers.”

We decided we wanted to focus on the film makers and interview them and use them as the main focus of our story, though they weren’t all easily accessible.  Emily Hulsman, one of our group members, attended the festival and got a lot of information about the filmmakers when they did Q & A’s after their films showed. She was  able to see Frank’s vision turned reality.  She said she “learned a lot about what it takes to create the films and about those who created them,” adding “it was a great experience to be able to be an audience member.”  JB Garcia, another group member, said he “really enjoyed working on this project. I hit some bumps in the road when it came to getting in contact with film makers, but was able to recover nicely and I think everything turned out well.”

At the end of the festival, the three top films split a cash prize of $2,500 provided by various sponsors.  In our story, we discussed the top three films and what they were about with a lot of emphasis on what other audience members took away from viewing them.

Once we interviewed several contacts and attended the festival, our group was able to cohesively come up with what this story really was about, “a community of inclusivity and support for young writers, producer and directors.”