Alumni featured in local film fest
Posted April 17, 2009

Two recent University of La Verne graduates will have their films featured at the 11th annual Smogdance film festival, to be held at the newly restored Pomona Fox Theater from April 24-26.

Chris Davis and Gina Sandoval, who both graduated in 2008, will compete against filmmakers from institutions across the nation including New York University and the University of California as well as independent filmmakers from around the globe.

This marks the first time students from ULV have been selected to have their work viewed at the Smogdance event.

Davis did not expect Donald Pollock, professor of communications, to enter his documentary film into the festival.

“I was surprised when I found out Don entered “Mear One” into Smogdance,” Davis said. “It’s awesome because people will see a social economic expression that doesn’t receive much attention.”

“Mear One” is a documentary film that features the style and technique of controversial underground graffiti artist Mear One, who resides in the Los Angels area.

“There is more to graffiti than crime,” Davis said.

Davis, who received his bachelor’s degree in television broadcasting last spring, said he wanted to shake things up in the La Verne community with a new kind of self-expression.

Davis is currently dabbling in acting and modeling and is in the process of starting his own production company. His film will be featured on April 25.

Fellow graduate, filmmaker and friend Sandoval was also surprised to learn her film, “Timmy Wheels” would be featured in Smogdance.

“I didn’t expect it to be entered but I’m really glad because it’s such a heart warming story,” Sandoval said.

“Timmy Wheels” features current ULV student Tim Musick, who is pursuing a career in sports broadcasting despite being confined to a wheelchair.

“It was great to be able to share his story with everyone through this documentary,” Sandoval said. “I learned life lessons witnessing his zest for life and positive can-do attitude.”

Sandoval, who received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, is currently doing public relations for her father’s dental service program while she applies for reporting jobs.

Her film was part of her senior project last spring and will be featured in Smogdance on Friday, April 24.

“We are glad and excited to have ULV participating with us this year,” festival director Charlotte Cousins said.

There is no telling what the future may hold for films entered in Smogdance. Cousins said two films featured in previous years have gone on to be nominated for academy awards.

“The festival allows for audience response and filmmakers are able to hone their skills better,” Cousins said.

This is the first year that Smogdance will be held at the Pomona Fox Theater and it will also be the first public event to take place since its renovation. Cousins has high hopes for opening night.

“This year will be one of the best attended years that we’ve ever had,” Cousins said. “We have been working with the city of Pomona to get it (Fox Theater) renovated for years.”

In previous years the festival was held at Prem Reddy Hall at Western University of Health Sciences and since 2005 has been held at Galileo Hall at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont.

Friends of the Pomona Fox, a non-profit organization, along with help from the local community have preserved and restored the theater to its original glory days of the 1930s.

On April 18 “Fox First Night!,” a sneak preview event, will feature special guests Carol Channing and Charles Phoenix at a private fundraiser dinner to celebrate Fox’s opening. Individual tickets can be purchased for $135 at

“It’s going to be an exciting night,” Cousins said.

Smogdance is sponsored by dA Center for the Arts. For more information on the film festival visit

Mark Vidal can be reached at


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