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Menifee school, college campuses to host International DocuFilmFest

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Dr. Rober Schultz and Laura Badillo of Mt. San Jacinto College and Santa Rosa Academy with Chair Woman Daphne Barak, President Bill Gunasti and Mayor Scott Mann.

By Tony Ault of Valley News on April 23, 2016

Plans to bring an international Docufilm Festival to Menifee that could bring an estimated 200,000 people, Hollywood actors and notable film studio executives to the city in December was announced last week at Menifee’s Santa Rosa Academy charter school.

The joint announcement was made by Menifee Mayor Scott Mann, Roger Schultz, president of Mt. San Jacinto College and Menifee’s Santa Rosa Academy Executive Director Laura Badillo. Joining them were internationally known festival producer Daphne Barak and festival promoter Bill Gunasti. On hand to tell about their experiences both as documentary actors, producers and directors were Young Hollywood Board Members Director John Cullen Bressack, Producer Dru Davis, Actor Cody Saintgnue and Actresses Erin Sanders and Allison Stoner.

Mann said there is no better way to showcase the city then by having an international documentary film festival in Menifee.

“But what is most important about the documentary film festival in there are only 12 of them around the country,” Mann said. “There are none of them in California.”

He said that through discussions with festival producer Barak and promoter Gunasti, the college and charter school, it was determined that a documentary film festival would be beneficial not only to Menifee, but to all of California.

“It’s their brainchild and we decided to partner to bring this unique international art film festival to showcase this beautiful town and also support the arts and get the word out about international culture,” Mann said.

He said the festival has already received documentary film submissions from Europe and Israel and they are currently working with China.

“This just is not universities and colleges, but these are professionals from Hollywood and the international film scene,” he said. “This is going to help put Menifee on the map and give our city another signature event.”

Mann said the city is happy to partner with MSJC’s Menifee campus and the Santa Rosa Academy and wants it to appeal to younger aspiring film artists.

“We are going to have interns. We are going to have master programmers. We are going to have artists. We have producers, young executives, and stars you have probably seen on films and TV,” Mann said.

Barak told the students and those gathered at the news conference were pleased to be working with the city and the schools to bring the Festival to Menifee and Southern California. She will be traveling in the next few weeks to work on a documentary for the 20-20 TV show and begin inviting her film contacts from throughout the world to the festival.

Gunasti said the two schools in Menifee will be the “pillars” of the festival that is scheduled to take place Dec. 5-11 ot their campuses.

“The idea is to build a fesitival on top of these pillars. It will be an education…to educate the kids,” Gunasti said. “We are going to go after interns. The more we have the better it is for us. Then we go after the volunteers and the public. This is good for business.”

As a promoter, he indicated the Menifee DocuFilmFestival needs to bring at least 200,000 visitors, “and we will have that, maybe more” he assured the attendees. He said they will be coming from overseas and will involve at least 20 countries. He said Barak is known by media outlets in at least that many countries and they will put them on board with the festival plans.

“They will all hear about Menifee. They will know how to spell it … we are selling arts in Menifee, California. We might reach as many as a billion people by the end of the year,” he said.

The work to attract as many overseas interns, documentary directors and producers those interested in the arts as possible for the festival is already underway. The Festival promoters have established a website that is now under construction and can be seen at www.docufilmfest.com. Also under construction are apps for the festival called “Dare to Dream/D2D” The apps when offered on Android and IPhones will, according to the promoters, offer applicants the opportunity to register and to be matched with a Hollywood star or some other celebrity or a political leader and/or candidate called a “recipient.” The app will be designed to have professionals help the applicant with his or her approved or verified documentary projects, primarily California DocuFilmFestival projects at the Santa Rosa Academy and MSJC festival grounds. More information on Dare to Dream/D2D will become available on the website.

The Festival will accept three types of documentaries for submission. Documentaries can be shorts, up to 15 minutes long; medium length up to 35 minutes and full features. The deadline for submission is Sept. 20.

Ganasti said the festival will be held at the two schools. Each of the schools will have its grounds divided into color areas. The Yellow area will be for all visitors on the grounds of both schools, A Red area will be set aside for sponsors and red carpet celebrities. A Green area will be for the trades and vendors who will conduct regular business. The Blue educational areas will be set aside for workshops where interns and others can learn more about ways and means of doing documentary films.

MSJC President Schultz said the Menifee campus is excited to be a “affiliated with this visionary event.

“We are excited about Hollywood coming out to us in Menifee,” Schultz said “giving us some real world education that will…transmit to our students.”