Sometimes the trick to making it in Hollywood is to just believe you Cannes.
Selma High alumnus Michael Morales has been invited to the prestigious international Cannes Film Festival in May and is now crowdsourcing the funds to make the two-week trip to France to attend.
“I got the email and I didn’t correctly read it, I thought it was just another update,” Morales said about getting news that he’d been invited to what is perhaps the biggest film festival in the world. “Then I re-read it sometime later and was like, ‘holy — you know. This is real. I’m going.’”
The San Francisco State University junior produced, edited and wrote the story for the Spanish-language short film “Guardia de mi Hermano."
Morales, along with other cast and crew members, created the film for Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival. The competition challenges students to create a five-minute short film in only one week.
The film was selected as a Top-16 finalist out of around 100 entries, eventually winning the first-place Jury Award.
“It goes to show that my storytelling, the way that I like to put a film together, people see that and they appreciate it,” he said. “It’s a pretty powerful thing, to be honest. I have the power to send a message to people.”
The film concerns two brothers and how the choices they make can affect each other.
“It ends in a cliffhanger. It leaves the audience to use their imagination to decide what happens,” Morales said.
“One of the great things about the film is that everything is in the details,” said Michael’s father, Mike. “The film presents a real moral dilemma.”
“Guardia de mi Hermano” is currently available to watch on Morales’ GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/guardia-de-mi-hermano.
The trip will cost at least $3,000, which is a hefty bill for the college student, and he’s asking for donations to help with the costs.
Morales has never been to Europe and is excited about the opportunity to network and pick the brains of veterans of the industry.
“I’m not sure who I’m going to meet out there, but whoever I do meet, for us to cross paths, it was meant to be,” the filmmaker says. “Another thing I hope to get out of this is the knowledge of what other directors and producers know, and to apply that to my work.”
Of course, rubbing elbows with Hollywood A-listers wouldn't be so bad, either.
"It would be cool to meet Christian Bale or Leonardo DiCaprio," he says.
Morales is currently in SFSU’s broadcast and electronic communications program, hoping to eventually land a job producing prestige genre shows, like HBO’s “Westworld.”
He plans on vlogging from the invite-only film festival to keep everyone back home up-to-date on the experience.