Bay Area High Schoolers Get Their Own Film Fest at the New Parkway

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Five young people crowd behind a digital camera
Behind the scenes with student participants in the REEL Oakland program. (Courtesy REEL Oakland)

No matter how many Bay Area icons make it to Hollywood, it’s always a thrill to see local landmarks, culture and talent on the silver screen (shout-out to whatever weirdness Boots Riley is cooking up for us with his upcoming Amazon series, I’m a Virgo). It’s even more exciting to think about what the next generation of Bay Area filmmakers will come up with as they hone their skills. Helping them on their path is REEL Oakland, an after-school program created by Anthonia Onyejekwe (a former producer for KQED’s Check Please! Bay Area) that guides high school students through the making of short documentary, narrative and animation films.

Over the course of a year, the students learn about all facets of filmmaking, from screenwriting to postproduction, working together as a crew and under the mentorship of local professionals. On Saturday, May 28, student films from Oakland Charter High School, Leadership Public Schools in Oakland and Hayward, Skyline High School, Richmond High School and John F. Kennedy High School will be on display at the New Parkway for an afternoon of screenings. A raffle, a Q&A with the student directors and—looking to what comes next—a chance for all attendees to network in the field rounds out the free event.

REEL Oakland Film Festival takes place Saturday, May 28, from 4–6pm at the New Parkway Theater. Tickets are free. Register here.