by Michelle Barbaria 

The morning outside the Crest Theatre in Sacramento was filled with anticipation and excitement. Friends, family, and film crew members gathered in line to get in to see the 9 films they helped to create on the big screen. Once the doors opened and the people began to flow into the lobby the place was jumpin’. The sounds of Sister Swing could be heard in the background over the speaker system and the scent of popcorn filled the air.

 In the lobby there were tables set up with the filmmaker’s posters and souvenir flyers for their individual films were passed out. Photos were being snapped left and right and groups of family and friends huddled together to get everyone in the picture.

At exactly 1:00pm the lights went down and there was silence. Out of the corner of the packed theatre a booming voice could be heard with a powerful message. It was the voice of one of six poets from the Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS), a program for expression and creativity through poetry for youth at UC Davis. Ron Cooper, the Executive Director of Access Sacramento then took the stage to welcome everyone. The films officially started rolling with “BarTime” by Wayne Douglas Johnson; it’s that 15 minute bar time differential that really has a huge effect for this film. 

The films continued and there was such a touching moment when the film “Thugs Need Hugs” by DDSO E+ writing class started. There were so many hoots and hollers from the audience from the thrills of seeing friends and family members on in their movie on big screen. The E+ writing class also wrote and produced “Are You My Girlfriend?” There was a real sense of community and fun as each film came up on the screen and the crowd clapped and yelled for their productions.

 Each film touched a slightly different sentiment this year with love being a common theme. And not just romantic love, but the love of family and the appreciation of life. Films like “War at Home” touched on the experience of a soldier returning home to friends and family after being in Iraq. “Butterscotch” was a poetic and clever take on the mysteries of life and love.

 “The Treasure Chest of South Sacramento” demonstrates personal growth through hardship and overcoming the status quo by looking inward at oneself. “The Golden Tree” by Gerald Martin Davenport delved into the history of the Sacramento region while bringing family together and “Little Thieves” reminds us to mind our manners and do what is right or else…