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ASI Student Employees’ Short Film Showcased at Newport Beach Film Festival

ASI Marketing, Communications, & Design student employees Hayley Garcia and Natalia Medina showcased their women-led short film Sonder at the Newport Beach Film Festival on October 16.


Garcia was the color grader and one of two directors of photography for the film while Medina was the editor.


Celebrated as one of the leading lifestyle film festivals in the United States, the annual Newport Beach Film Festival attracts 58,000 guests for over 100 feature films, 30 short films, and a dozen public parties featuring more than 60 culinary partners.


Sonder was one of four short films selected from Cal State Fullerton for the collegiate showcase.


“Having the opportunity to see our names and all the hard work we put into this film on the big screen was such a surreal experience,” said Garcia.


Prior to the film’s screening, they walked the red carpet alongside their fellow cast and crew. Soon after, musician Machine Gun Kelley and actors Patton Oswald and Aubrey Plaza, who each received Artist of Distinction Awards, made appearances at the festival.


Sonder is a clever psychological thriller centering around a psychiatrist who finds herself trying to uncover the suspicious death of one of her patients.


Started as part of the CTVA 425 course, the crew shot the film over a five-weekend production consisting of long overnight shoots.


The director, assistant director, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, and producer were all women, a rare aspect not only in professional production crews but student films as well.


“What was really great about our set was that we could all hear each other and listen to each other,” said Medina, “without any of the power imbalances that tend to happen in film crews.”


Before working on the film, Garcia and Medina started their respective jobs within ASI where they were able to sharpen the skills used while making Sonder.


Medina is a photographer and editor with Garcia starting as a production assistant later turned producer.


Both were able to strengthen their communication skills, learn how to give and receive feedback, and how to work well within a team.


The encouraging atmosphere within ASI’s Marketing, Communications, & Design department was another major motivator for Garcia and Medina. Whether it was coworkers having a genuine interest in the movie’s progress throughout the semester or supervisors showing consideration for the many responsibilities student films place on their crew, it all culminated with the film fest showing.


“All my supervisors and coworkers have been incredibly supportive of the work I’ve done on this film,” Garcia said.


With their office’s support, they were not only given room to be creative at work but to pour their all into their proudest achievement thus far.


“It’s a testament to the environment at ASI where everyone involved is very interested in seeing us grow as creatives beyond the workplace once we graduate and enter into our careers,” said Medina.