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Cast and crew of "Our Oceans" celebrate after winning six awards at the Hanford Film Festival in this March 2020 file photo. From left to right, director Matt Macedo and stars Sami Lee Robbins and Andrik Ochoa. 

The call is out for aspiring filmmakers worldwide — and especially in the San Joaquin Valley — to submit their work for the upcoming Hanford Film Festival.

According to George Miller of B&B Productions, the facilitator and coordinator of the event, submissions are being accepted from now until March 1, with accepted films being screened at the festival on April 23 at the Hanford Fox Theatre. The films being accepted are independent, and should be between three and 20 minutes in length. And for those filmmakers from Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties, the submission is free.

“They’re short, independent films,” Miller said. “We just try to help up-and-coming filmmakers, and we’ve actually got to do that for the last couple years. We’ve had a couple talented locals.”

It isn’t Sundance, but Miller says it’s a great chance for local artists to have their work showcased, and to have viewpoints unique to the Valley expressed through film. In fact, they can even be pitted against and viewed alongside moviemakers from across the world.

“Last year, the person that won the film festival came out of Tulare County, so that was very impressive,” Miller said. “And he went up against international films, and so that was really amazing to give him that platform and to have him shine like that was really awesome.”

The film in question was “Our Oceans” by Matt Macedo, which took home Festival Winner, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Story, Best Local Short and Best Local Film. The film also became a semi-finalist at the European Cinematography Awards and was a finalist at the Rome Independent Prisma awards and a nominee for Best LGBTQ film for the Short Indie Shorts Fest in Los Angeles.

But “Our Oceans” is far from being the only Hanford Film Festival success story.

Miller said that while they’re not making a substantial amount back for this work, the chance to give local talents a platform makes it worth the time and effort.

“None of us are getting rich from film festivals — this is altruistic,” Miller said. “We all have to have jobs and make a living. This is just something we’re doing basically to give back.”

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