The Fullerton Fox Theatre is opening its doors to the public for the first time in 10 years to help Fullerton College students showcase their film projects during the first Fox Film Festival on March 2 from 6-10 p.m. The festival will be a featured stop during the Fullerton Art Walk and will showcase more than 10 films produced and hand-edited by students studying Television and Film Production at Fullerton College.
“It’s certainly something different that we haven’t seen in a while,” said Leland Wilson who serves as president of the Fullerton Historic Theatre Foundation. “When students came to me with the idea, I thought it would be a fun way to bring back the nostalgia of viewing 16mm films in our historic theatre – which is the way the theatre was intended to be used.”
The theatre’s lobby and lower level seating will be accessible during the film festival as well as the projection room, Wilson said. However, a majority of the theatre remains permanently closed until all renovations are completed, which is estimated to take another four to five years, said Wilson.
In the meantime, the Fullerton Historic Theatre Foundation is enthusiastic about helping students and the community with small projects like the film festival. “It’s the Foundation’s goal for the theatre to be the community arm people and groups can go to once the Fox Theatre is fully renovated,”
CRTV and media studies students Alex Leto and Marlowe Lewis-Mahon came up with the idea for the film festival while visiting the theatre during the Art Walk in December.
“As a film student, I’ve always wanted to have my work shown in a theater,” said Leto, who is majoring in Film and Television and plans to become a writer and director. Leto will be showcasing a couple of his films during the event.
“The Fox has so much charm and history,” Lewis-Mahon said. “But it hasn’t been used since the 1980’s, and we just thought it would be awesome if we could show our movies there.” An aspiring producer, Lewis-Mahon said he arrived at Fullerton College about a year ago from Vancouver, Canada and began studying Television and Film Production where he met Leto in one of his CRTV courses. After coming up with the idea about the film festival they approached the Fox Theatre and have been working side-by-side with Wilson to sort out all of the details given the theatre’s limitations and renovations that are still in progress.
“We’ve also been working closely with other filmmakers to secure them spots in the line-up,” Leto said. “I want this event to be fun and hopefully help give student filmmakers the experience of screening their work in a theatre – a historical one. Because you never know who can show up to an event like this and something beneficial can come of it.”
The film genres include a mix of horror, thriller and western films as well as an experimental mystery.
Lewis-Mahon and Leto are hopeful that the film festival can be offered each semester for students to showcase their work and gain excitement and momentum as they pursue their degrees and careers in the film and television industry.
In addition to the films showcased that night, student photographer Melissa Arismendy will have some of her work displayed in the lobby of the theatre where popcorn and beverages will be available for purchase.
Professor Jay Goldstein who teaches CRTV 160, Introduction to 16mm film production and digital cinematography, said “the film festival is a great way for students to showcase their work to the community, get feedback and introduce them to the process of exhibiting their work via film festivals.”