Ready to be in Pictures? Great Local Filmmaking Projects in Sac This Summer!

By Mary Beth Barber

Sacramento may be 379 miles from Hollywood, but there are plenty of ways to take part in filmmaking this summer. The capital region has a ton of entrepreneurial filmmakers creating short films for local contests, film festivals, and screenings – and these projects need assistance, including from folks new to the process. Take a look at some of the possibilities ….

  • Go to the “Express Yourself” Festival from Access Sacramento on the afternoon of Saturday, June 2. The “Express Yourself” festival is an Access project to introduce the public to the station’s various community-participation programs, including hosting local television programs, learn how to use the station’s “green-screen studio,” and get information from major media outlets how to submit information on their websites. At the same time, you can also investigate the Place Called Sacramento film festival.
  • Meet the “Place Called Sacramento” lead filmmakers and volunteer to be crew or cast for their films. Filmmakers submitted scripts in April, and 10 of them were chosen to be PCS 2012 filmmakers. But they still need cast and crew help – so visit Access Sacramento on June 2 if you’d like to be part of a team.
  • Professional DP (director of photography) Brian Hamm sets up test shot for "Sensored," a local feature shot in the Sacramento region. Brian started his career with local project for the Sacramento Film and Music Festival's "10x10" and "Sac Music Seen" contests. Source: Brian Hamm

    Plan to be a part of the “10 by 10” film contest from the Sacramento Film and Music Festival, where teams of Sacramento filmmakers have 10 days to make a 10 minute film on a particular theme. This program is a HUGE hit each year for the film festival, and the resulting films get better and better each year. The theme will be announced in July, but you can view past films online. And like A Place Called Sacramento, filmmaking teams will need help – or even come and head up your own! All films will be screened during the festival on the third weekend in August.

  • Offer to crew or be cast for Sac Music Seen, another program of the Sacramento Film and Music Festival. Local filmmakers are teamed up with local bands to create music videos. The “listening party” where local filmmakers hear the songs submitted for the process has already taken place, but it’s not too late to volunteer to be part of a crew or cast. Try posting a note on the Sacramento Film and Music Festival Facebook page – or better yet, to throw your name out there for this project and others, utilize the Capital Film Arts Alliance network (see below).
  • Be a part of the Capital Film Arts Alliance, a local film networking nonprofit that has a Third Tuesday speaker series and networking meeting, as well as a weekly eNewsletter (1000+ strong) with all the latest happenings. The most recent Third Tuesday lecture featured Emmy-award winning Doug Stanley of Deadliest Catch, who’s now got a production company, Ridgeline Entertainment, in Folsom. They have a strong presence on Facebook, and the absolute BEST way to be a part of any of the projects mentioned above and others is to email a quick “I’d like to be a part of a film crew” message to and have it posted in the eNewsletter.
  • Local filmmakers Chris and Heather King speak at the Capital Film Arts Alliance's "Third Tuesdays" event. Source: Capital Film Arts Alliance

    Take in a Film Festival. If film viewing is your thing, come out the film festivals mentioned, both taking place at the Crest Theatre. The Sacramento Film and Music Festival will be August 15-19 (the Sac Music Seen music videos, the 10×10 films, and others will be presented), the Place Called Sacramento films will be presented on Sunday, October 7. Also consider other film festivals like the Sacramento Japanese Film Festival in July or the Sacramento French Film Festival on two weekends in June – June 15-17 and June 22-24. The French Film Festival, which mixes U.S. premieres with hard-to-find French classics, is the largest attended film festival in Sacramento. The opening party at The Crest on Friday June 15 will be the place to be. Full line-up of films coming soon. J’aime le cinema!

Disclosure: Mary Beth Barber is a local actor and writer, a board member for the Capital Film Arts Alliance, and a filmmaker who has partaken in a few of the local film projects and contests mentioned above. She’s also spent many a June weekend watching French films back-to-back at past Sac French Film Festivals, with the air-conditioned Crest Theatre providing a break from the summer heat.

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