A film by Grant Clover, left, and Michael Metzler Jr. has been screened at 60 film festivals.A film by Grant Clover, left, and Michael Metzler Jr. has been screened at 60 film festivals.

Riverside, Calif. (Oct. 17, 2023) -- When Michael Metzler Jr. (’23) was 10, he saved up $50 to buy his first camera and used it to make films with his siblings.

He’s been filmmaking ever since.

At 14, he made a 25-minute film filled with action and dialogue. (“It was of course very bad, but it was my first,” he said.) From there he made music videos and other short films.

He came to California Baptist University and earned a degree in film. After graduation, he and a childhood friend, Grant Clover, started working on a short film, “I Walk With Ghosts.” They finished it in August, and it has gotten a lot of attention.

So far, the film has been selected to be screened at 60 film festivals around the world, including ones in Italy, India and United Arab Emirates. It also has received nearly 50 honors, including two at the IndieFEST Film Awards — the Award of Merit for Film Short and the Award of Merit for Dramatic Impact. The competition is for both industry veterans and new filmmakers, with entries judged by professionals in the film and television industry.

“We were extremely grateful and surprised. We were honestly not expecting to win anything in this massive festival, given the formidable competition and wide range of films submitted from across the globe,” Metzler said.

The film is about a man who follows ghosts, witnessing the subtle beauty of their journeys and their desires. Through his wanderings with them, he comes to realize what they're looking for in their brief, inexplicable lives — as the physical and supernatural worlds collide.

“We've been blown away by the success of the film,” Metzler said. “My main takeaway is to write out whatever is in your head, create a project no matter how unprepared you feel. We'd never know what would happen unless we decided to go for it and commit to this short film, start to finish.”

Metzler and Clover are already brainstorming for their next short film — a dark psychological film exploring grief and self-resentment through a catastrophic personal loss.

“Our goal is to deal with heavy topics, not in an attempt to give an answer, but rather to approach these topics with unflinching realism. Sometimes there aren't humanly comprehensible answers to our questions about the fallen nature of the world we live in,” Metzler said.

Even though he had been making films for years, Metzler said when he came to CBU, he was intimidated by the prospect of borrowing film equipment. With the CBU Student Film Festival approaching in his junior year, he got up the nerve to borrow some equipment and asked students to help him. Metzler gave a shout out to Josiah Murphy, a senior at the time, who took the time to help him with cameras, lighting and sound.

“I would never have made my second film without making my first — a simple lesson I learned at CBU that has since never ceased to positively impact my creative decisions,” Metzler said. “CBU ultimately taught me to overcome my self-doubt and go for it, that this was the only way to make progress, with anything for that matter. It's a lesson I wish I'd learned earlier, but I’m grateful to know it now.”

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski
Email: ameluski@calbaptist.edu

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504