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Fourth Santa Monica College Student Film Picked to Screen at Cannes
By Lookout Staff
April 17 -- A Santa Monica College student film about an aging closeted gay man struggling with Alzheimer’s has been accepted into the American Pavilion at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, school officials announced this week.
“Life in Color” -- directed by SMC alum Bishal Dutta and produced by student Olivia Shapiro -- is the only film from a U.S. community college represented in Emerging Filmmaker Showcase.
It is the fourth student film produced at the school to screen at the prestigious festival's showcase for emerging filmmakers.
“I felt really passionate about ‘Life in Color, so I surrounded myself with some of my best friends and collaborators under the mentorship of the SMC Film Program," said Dutta.
The film, made before Dutta transferred to UC Berkeley last fall, was co-produced by SMC and Bridge the Divide Media, a collective of young artists and filmmakers, which includes many SMC alumni and current students, school officials said.
The SMC film program, Dutta said, "consistently pushes us to assert our voices and make them heard through perseverance, razor-sharp focus, and sheer willpower.
"We made this film as a collective effort pursuing a unifying vision, which made directing it such an incredible and humbling experience,” he said.
The film tells the story of Harold, a gay man with Alzheimer’s who is "struggling against his strong-willed daughter to hold on the memory of the man he once loved," officials said.
“Life in Color” was one of 27 short films and documentaries by emerging filmmakers from around the world selected for the showcase.
Many of the films focus on hotly debated issues, including "sexual assault in the entertainment industry, racism in the police force, the collective trauma of the Holocaust, the Israel-Palestine conflict and LGBTQ+ issues," officials said.
The selection of “Life in Color” comes one year after a short film written and directed by SMC student Carrie Finklea was accepted into Cannes' American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase ("Santa Monica College Student Film to Screen at Cannes," April 17, 2017).
“When it comes to the SMC Film Program, I believe our students actually have an edge because of their cultural diversity and the fact that ‘entitlement’ has no place in our filmmaking community," said SMC Film Professor Salvador Carrasco, who heads the college’s film production division.
"Life in Color" is another "great example" of a student film that "delivers a powerful message in an affecting way,” he said.
"Everything we do is based on equity and a value system that is based on our students’ work ethic, talent, and attitude,” Carrasco said “Because of their life experiences, our students have meaningful stories to tell."
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