Watsonville Film Festival opens virtual event Online films and conversations

With the goal of inspiring and bringing our community together in challenging times, the Watsonville Film Festival will launch a virtual program next week. Called VIRTUAL WFF, the program will offer a series of short films and conversations that were originally slated to be part of its 8th Annual Festival.

The Watsonville Film Festival was one of the earliest casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, as the Board of Directors voluntarily cancelled the annual festival only 48 hours before it was set to begin. “The virus set us back a bit, but it’s not going to stop us,” says Executive Director Consuelo Alba. “In fact, it’s opened new avenues for us to explore, like this new online series.”

Every Monday through Thursday starting April 13, the festival will share a short film that was originally scheduled for this year’s festival, for free online. On Thursdays at 6pm, directors and talent will participate in conversations about their respective films. “From our very beginnings, that’s what has been one of our key goals, to encourage heartfelt conversations between the filmmakers and our local audience. We’re going to do our best to bring that energy into the virtual realm,” says Alba.
The first film presentation is THROUGH YOUR EYES by Watsonville-based director, cinematographer and editor Eugenia Rentería. This short film will be available online April 13-19, and the festival will host a conversation with the director on Thursday, April 16, at 6 p.m. via Zoom.
THROUGH YOUR EYES offers a recollection of life’s precious and transitory moments, as seen through the eyes of a loved one. The 5-minute short stars Watsonville actor and teacher Luci Basor and a cast of local talent.
The director’s work is centered around her life experiences as an immigrant woman. Born and raised in a small town in Zacatecas, Mexico, Eugenia Rentería moved to California when she was 12, and received a B.A. in Cinematic Arts & Technology from CSUMB. Eugenia co-founded Inspira Studios, where she produces content for businesses and organizations, as well as her own stories.
WFF is working closely with Digital NEST students to create an online community for Watsonville Film Festival and make the experience of watching films more interactive. Follow us on Facebook & Instagram to participate in the activities inspired by the films.
The VIRTUAL WFF will continue with the following films:
Week of April 20 – BEST OF ME & LOS HERMANOS
Music videos and discussion with local photographer Craig Sherod, filmmaker Maureen Gosling & musician Eugene Rodriguez, who is also the Executive Director of Los Cenzontles on April 23 at 6pm.
Week of April 27 – REPRESENT
Documentary film featuring DREAMER artist Arleene Correa Valencia, plus discussion with filmmakers April 30 at 6pm. Arleene was the inspiration behind the exhibit Campesinos / Workers of the Land at Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery.
Week of May 4 – XILONEN – World Premiere 
This short documentary film by Digital Nest Youth Film Production Team focused on a beautiful rite of passage celebrated by the White Hawks Aztec Dancers in Watsonville. Discussion with the film crew on May 7 at 6pm.
For information on how to view the videos and participate in the conversations, visit watsonvillefilmfest.org  or the Watsonville Film Festival’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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