By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
If you’re a filmaholic, you’ve probably heard about the Cinema Society, and its director, Andy Friedenberg, who founded the Society in 1984. Having moved to San Diego from Chicago, where he was Regional Marketing Director for Columbia Pictures, he wanted to create a way for local film-lovers to meet, watch movies together, and talk about what they saw.
“That first year, we started out with 32 people — my mother, my father, and 30 of their friends,” he said. “Now we have over 800 members.”
For the past 15 years, MCASD’s Sherwood Auditorium has been the site of the Society’s popular Evening of Award-Winning Short Films. This year, on Tuesday, Jan. 29, they will be screening nine films from seven different countries.
“We scout the planet to find the most interesting films,” said Friedenberg, who mostly finds his award-winning shorts at other film festivals.
Some of his personal favorites this year:
• The multi-award-winning, Oscar-nominated “Asad,” a 16-minute South African film about a young boy who dreams of being a fisherman. Filmmaker Matt Lefebvre will be present at the screenings.
• “ Abiogenesis,” a 4-minute animated sci-fi fantasy from New Zealand. “I created the film on a standard desktop computer in my parents’ garage,” said filmmaker Richard Mans. It took him four years to complete, and has now been shown at over 30 festivals around the world.
• ”What You Looking At?” a 9-minute film from the U.K., about a Muslim woman stuck on an elevator with a drag queen.
There will be two showings of the films, at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Filmmakers — or their surrogates — will introduce each film, and take questions at the end of the evening. The program runs about two hours, and most of the seats will be filled by Cinema Society members, but La Jolla Light readers are invited to attend at the members’ guest price of $20.
If the films whet your appetite for some travelling “cinematic adventures,” Friedenberg also leads trips to film-and-theater hot spots, here and abroad. Upcoming destinations include Academy Headquarters in Beverly Hills
(Feb. 23, the day before the Academy Awards) and a New York City Theater and Cinema Tour (April 20-26).