FONTANA, CA – Move over, Cannes and Sundance: Fontana Unified is set to challenge these internationally acclaimed destinations for cinema lovers by hosting its first-ever districtwide Fontana Film Festival on Friday, May 5. Open to all Fontana Unified K-12 students and alumni, the film festival will showcase the emerging talents of TV Production and film students from all corners of the city.

The festival will be held at 6 p.m. at Steelworkers Auditorium, located at 1555 Summit Ave., Fontana.

“Our ultimate goal is to put Fontana on the map for film production,” Summit High School TV Production teacher and Film Festival Director Artie Casas said. “We have world-class TV production and film programs across the district, not just in the high schools, but also our middle and elementary schools. Our students are finding their voices behind the camera, and it’s time to celebrate their talents.”

Students were invited to digitally submit their short films – 1-3 minutes in duration – in more than 20 award categories, including narrative/live action drama, music video, avant-garde and public service announcement. Elementary and middle schools, as well as alumni, will have their own award categories.

“We have received more than 135 submissions from students throughout the District, including elementary, middle, high school, and adult education students,” Casas said. “Our judges will be a mix of those from the Fontana community and from the TV and film industry. Working with FilmFreeway, judges will have digital access to all our submissions, which allows them to view the films remotely.”

The film festival will highlight the growth and expansion of Fontana Unified career technical education (CTE) TV production pathways across the District. Casas is now in his ninth year as Summit High’s TV Production teacher, helping to launch Skyhawk Productions, which uses state-of-the-art recording and editing equipment and has a professional studio for its Skyhawk news programs.

Similar CTE TV production pathways are available at the District’s five comprehensive high schools, including Jurupa Hills High, which recently screened student films at the San Bernardino Valley College Film Festival, and A.B. Miller High, which hosted its own student film festival in 2022. Fontana Unified students can begin developing their TV production skills as early as elementary school through Pacer Production Studios, an afterschool video production program offered at Almond Elementary.

“By giving our students powerful communication tools to tell their stories, we are laying the foundation for our students to become future leaders and innovators,” Superintendent Miki R. Inbody said. “Thank you to Artie Casas for his hard work in bringing this exciting night of film to the District and providing our students with a platform to display their talents.”