A comedy about a narcissist who meets his match, an actioner about a high school student out for revenge, dramas about an abused girl caring for her cancer-striken father and a lonely, self-harming girl with an imaginary friend, as well as documentaries about an adult female surfing club, the craft brew scene and the undocumented dealing with being undocumented make up this year's Newport Beach Film Festival "OCC Shorts" program.
Space constraints with the Film page story on the 10th anniversary of Orange Coast College's shorts program at the 14th annual NBFF prevented introductions of the "OCC Shorts" filmmakers and their cinematic stories that will roll in the Lido Theatre at 1 p.m. Sunday.
'OCC Shorts' Stands Tall: College program celebrates 10 years at Newport Beach Film Festival
And so, here they are now:
Americans have made plenty of documentaries (and dramas) about folks who cross the southern U.S. border illegally, many of them by Mexican-Americans. But director Gabriela Peñúñuri brings the unique perspective of an international student from Mexico. Her 14-minute doc profiles a man struggling to raise a family, an anonymous OCC student who was brought here illegally as a child and people who congregate at the border's Friendship Park. "Growing up in Mexico, I experienced and witnessed many people's difficulties for finding work opportunities and providing for their families," Peñúñuri tells me. "I would constantly hear people talk of the American Dream and saw many leave to the U.S. in search for it. I immigrated as a student, but I understand where millions of undocumented immigrants come from, and their reasons to take such a big risk as to enter the country without legal documentation--and so I felt that I could voice their side of the story in a more personal way." She continues: "I'm not sure if my background made this documentary any different from others on the same topic, but it definitely helped me in the process of developing the film. The people featured in The Undocumented
are mostly those who I randomly (but luckily) met at the locations where I was filming. I can't say much about them, but I will say they are people who love and respect this nation just as a native, and if given the opportunity to legalize their status, they would undoubtedly contribute positive things to society." OCC Acquisitions Librarian Carl Morgan awarded his annual $1,000 scholarship to the documentary, which guaranteed it a look but not necessarily a selection from festival programmers, according to Scott Broberg, the OCC Film/Video coordinator.
Seven Carlsbad women, who range in ages from their 30s to 60s and are known as "The Cupcakes," share their passion for surfing and how it has changed their lives. Lily Young, who made the 13-minute documentary with Minerva Alvarado, says a Cupcake who is her ex-boyfriend's mother was the inspiration for the first film Young completely shot and edited. "They find it very relaxing," Young said of the women in her film and surfing. "It's their therapy." She called making the film "a huge learning experience," one she hopes to take to Cal State Long Beach (finances willing) next fall.