Riverside International Film Festival recognizes Riverside City College alum

By Saida Maalin

A Riverside City College alumni’s short film “Over the Moon” won Audience Best Animation at the 18th annual Riverside International Film Festival from April 21-26.

“It’s great to be in a festival in my hometown,” David Sanchez, the film’s creator, said during a live Q&A following the film’s preview April 22. “I grew up around Riverside and was born in Moreno Valley. This was really cool to be a part of because it’s local. Makes it very comfortable.”

Winners were announced April 26 on the RIFF website through Vimeo and Zoom, live platforms allowing everyone to participate and watch for free. 

Sanchez was not the only one in the animation spotlight. RCC’s very own animation instructor Will Kim’s short film, “The Hole,” was also selected. The films were played on day two of the six day film festival.

 “This is such a great accomplishment and great honor for the entire RCCD community,” Dariush Haghighat, an RCC political science instructor, said in an email. “Congratulations professor Kim and RCC alum Mr. Sanchez for a job well done.”

During the Q&A, Sanchez, Kim and other RIFF members discussed the technology, technique, time management and inspiration behind each film. 

“It’s really awesome being here with Will,” Sanchez said. “I love it.”

Viewers that participated in the audience choice awards were allowed to go through each film on the day of it being previewed and rate each one numerically based on least to most favorite.

“The Hole” was a 31 second film about a mother bird and her baby falling off a tree and failing to fly, causing the baby to fall in a hole. 

“I teach all forms of animations,” Kim said. “I use watercolor when it comes to my personal work, freelance and commercial work.” 

Kim’s short film featured music by Green Seo. The dramatic yet harmonious beat built suspense as the bird fell.

“It was all me and Green who composed the music for my film,” Kim said.

“Over the Moon” was a four and a half minute animation about an awkward first encounter between a man and woman on a date. The twist is the man is a wolf. The moon activates his wolf features while on the date, prompting him to wittingly chase after the curtains to keep them closed. 

The short film was funny and well put together.

“I couldn’t have done this without all my classmates that worked with me,” Sanchez said.  

They both had their own unique touch that moved viewers who actively stayed connected in a live chat as the films played. 

 “Loved it,” viewer April Lynn said in the RIFF live chat.

This year the festival wanted to focus on a wide variety of genres and subjects in relation to human misunderstandings, misfortunes, social reform, war and immigration.

RIFF has annually sought to bring together independent filmmakers from all over the world since 2002.