Film festival to showcase students’ work on the big screen

Riverside, Calif. (April 19, 2023) – Filming went smoothly for Michael Metzler Jr., a film senior at California Baptist University — except for the dog exercise class that disrupted his park scenes.

“I was worried about audio before I'd even begun filming. In the past I've primarily used voice-over, so this was by far the most dialogue-reliant project I've made. It did end up being the largest issue to resolve in post-production,” Metzler said.

With the help of a software program and his assistant director, CBU senior Viviana Delgado, he was able to clean up the audio.

His film, “sometimes I feel sad,” will be one of about 15 films screened at the CBU Student Film Festival on April 22. The event is held in conjunction with the Riverside International Film Festival.

Student filmmakers, peers, families and fans are invited to fill the theater at Ramona High School in Riverside for the CBU Student Film Festival. The films — 12 minutes or shorter — include genres such as drama, comedy and thriller as well as a music video and documentary.

The evening will include honoring actress Patty McCormack and awarding presentations for the student films. The purpose of the event is to give the students the experience of attending a film festival with their film, said Michael Eaton, professor of film studies and film production.

“Screening their short films for a film festival audience is an extremely valuable experience for our student filmmakers because it gives them the opportunity to gauge audience response and to potentially receive awards for their hard work on each film,” Eaton said.

Students handle every aspect of the filmmaking, including scriptwriting, casting, filming and editing.

Metzler submitted two films at last year’s festival. “Simon Says” earned several awards, including best film.

This year’s script — a psychological thriller — he wrote for fun in 40 minutes over Christmas break, then let a writer friend review it and give suggestions. Metzler spent about two weeks rewriting. He still had to give the actors new scripts because of changes. He found his cast through advertising on social media.

Aside from the dogs at the park, filming went smoothly and quickly. Then it was on to a favorite task — editing.

Film festival to showcase students’ work on the big screen

“When you're filming it, it's all cut up in nonchronological order,” Metzler said. “Being able to splice them all together and seeing like, ‘oh, actually this is giving me the effect that I wanted,’ and ‘this is how it’s actually going to look to the audience,’ that's probably the most fun.”

Though Metzler filled multiple roles on the film, he did have a student write a score. Caleb Hebert, a music freshman, also has written music for video game projects, an audiobook and is writing an original musical. Hebert said he tries to understand the creator’s vison.

“My favorite part of scoring is having a deliberate hand in telling a story,” Hebert said. “An effective score should complement both the story and the editing pacing of the film, accelerating when the action and editing does so, while slowing down when the visuals advise it. It is in the pursuit of these storytelling devices in which I find most joy in the composition process.”

In making films, Metzler said he learned to try new things in the process.

“I learned definitely to go for it,” Metzler said. “Do the thing that you want to do and then whatever happens happens, but at least you did it. And that's the greatest learning curve instead what I was doing before, which is just kind of waiting until I felt ready in which case it would never happen.”

Watching his films on the big screen with an audience, Metzler said he enjoys the feeling in the room and listening to the audience’s reactions.

“Hearing them laugh at the parts that you wanted them to laugh at — 'OK, good, it's actually working,’ because if the audience doesn't even laugh, then there's not really much point to it,” Metzler said.

CBU Student Film Festival

When: April 22. Actress honored at 5:45 p.m. Films screened at 7 p.m.

Where: Ramona High School Theater, 7675 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, CA 92504

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504