|April 25, 2016 • VOL. 54, NO. 8 • Oakland, CA|
| Filmmaker brings his work to students
Filmmaker Anthony Lucero brought his film, "East Side Sushi," back to the place where his dreams of becoming a filmmaker began: St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland's Fruitvale District.
Lucero brought the film to the school, where students viewed it in classrooms before joining him for a question-and-answer session.
"Not a whole lot of high school students see that film," Lucero said afterward. "I think it inspired them."
Aspiring filmmakers stayed behind to ask questions. The school will be offering animation classes, as well as a digital design class, next year.
Anthony Lucero's own interest in filmmaking was nurtured at St. Elizabeth, from which he graduated in 1990. "I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker early on," he said. An opportunity for extra credit in an English class opened the door. He asked if he could make a short video. It turned out no one had ever asked before, but he got the go-ahead.
"I started to interview people," he said. The 5-minute film, "A Look at St. Liz High," was just the start.
Lucero wrote "East Side Sushi," taking the screenplay to the Napa Writers Conference in 2008.
He saved up for the production; many worked on it for no pay. The film was shot in three weeks in and around Oakland; a year of post-production, in his apartment, followed. "I cut it on my own," he said.
"'East Side Sushi' was dedicated to my brother Eddie," Lucero said. "I am sure his spirit is what pushed me to finish it."
For a look at their relationship, see "Angels and Wheelchairs," a short film that doubles as a love letter to their mother, Elsie Lucero. It is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFCwgK4c-hE.
As the accolades — including audience awards — at Cine+Mas SF and Cinequest in San Jose came in, "It took a while for me to believe it was a good film," Lucero said.
Meanwhile, someone who saw the film during its run at the Grand Lake Theatre contacted Steve Phelps, president of Bishop O'Dowd High School, and told him he, too, must go see it.
The caller said the film inspired him to support a young woman from Oakland in pursuing her dreams, too. A June graduate of St. Anthony School in Oakland, selected by the high school, will enter Bishop O'Dowd this fall on a full-tuition, four-year scholarship.
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