Under the flickering light of the big screen, UC Santa Cruz students and city locals will come together to address pressing social issues.

Illustration by Leigh Douglas

The first annual Reel Change Film Festival will feature films, art and workshops from students and professionals, illuminating environmental and social issues.

“We can use the powers of our creativity and our intellect in collaboration to make the changes we want to see a reality,”  said event organizer and fourth-year politics and economics major Jeremy Kirshbaum.

Although the event will be held on campus, it is not just for students. The festival’s organizers aim to make the event a collaborative effort for the entire Santa Cruz community.

“We want to incorporate the community with the UC campus as much as possible,” said event organizer and first-year literature major Jacqueline Grohs.

The festival will feature activities and workshops to educate festival-goers in both the arts and the social sciences. One workshop will explain the process of documentary filmmaking and teach the basics of making your own.

“I’m personally hosting a poetry writing and performing workshop,” Grohs said.

Artwork by student and local artists will be on display in Quarry Plaza throughout the festival. Artists will be painting, creating screen prints and performing interactive artwork at the event. Many Santa Cruz organizations have contributed to the event, including the Santa Cruz Film Festival, which provided support and guidance in getting Reel Change off the ground.

The Campus Sustainability Council, Education for Sustainable Living Program and Environmental Education for the Next Generation are also supporting the event.

“There are a lot of chances for collaboration … a lot of really, really talented students on campus who are doing films, and there are a lot of people off campus who are doing film and art,”
Kirshbaum said. “The organizations on campus could benefit from collaboration off campus.”

All proceeds from the festival will be given to the Rise Up Development Collective, a relief organization with aims to provide humanitarian aid in Ghana.

“We are currently raising funds to help build a clinic in Ghana,” said second-year environmental studies student and Rise Up member Daisy Garcia.

The collective hopes to create a sustainable income for the clinic through eco-tourism, Garcia said.

Social and environmental justice are pressing issues with many factors that aren’t that obvious to the public, Grohs said.

“Through the power of film and through the power of arts,”  Grohs said, “we can spread a lot of awareness.”

Event Info: 

Location: Quarry Plaza — Films will be shown in the Bay Tree Conference Rooms and the nearby Classroom Units 1 and 2.

Admission: Free, with a suggested donation of $5–10

Date: Saturday

Time: 5–10 p.m.