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Hancock Engineering Student’s Film Selected to Screen at San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

Samuel Solis (Allan Hancock College photo)

Samuel Solis may be a mechanical engineering major, but it turns out the Allan Hancock College student is also an accomplished film maker.

Solis’ film Running Away has been selected to be screened during the 2016 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF).

The short film will be shown on the silver screen during the SLOIFF’s Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase Wednesday, March 16.

"I am very proud and honored,” said Solis, a self-proclaimed film hobbyist. “The day I found out, I couldn’t stop smiling.”

The SLOIFF runs March 15-20 and showcases contemporary and classic films. Each year, the festival embraces the philosophy that variety is the spice of life.

“I subscribe to a movie-making magazine, and there was an article that listed the top 50 film festivals to submit films to and San Luis Obispo was on the list. That’s why I applied. So to have my film selected is mind blowing,” said Solis, who said he was a one-man crew for the film. 

Solis described Running Away as a narrative that is not particularly about anything.

“The film is about a man who wakes up in a hospital and runs away,” said Solis. “But the universe is at a standstill so everything is like a photograph. It’s based a lot on comic books.”

The main character was played by Hancock physics instructor Rob Jorstad. Solis said several other faculty, staff and students also played roles in the film.

He estimates it took about 48 hours to set up, shoot and edit the film over a three-week period last spring. 

“The film program at Hancock is very hands on, and instructors are great mentors,” said Solis. “There is great equipment available for students to use, and the program encourages students to learn by doing.”
Solis is the youngest of seven children in his family. When he earns a degree from Hancock this spring, he will join his six siblings who earned associate degrees from Hancock.

Solis has applied to transfer to several universities in the California State University and University of California systems to pursue degrees in mechanical engineering and film.

“My entire family is grateful to Hancock. Our success in education is thanks to Hancock. It opened many doors for us and gave us hope,” he said.

Even with the recent film accolades, Solis still plans to pursue a career in engineering; however, he is thinking about combining his two passions.

“There is always room for engineering when it comes to movies. I could build a better acoustically-sound theater or new rides at Disneyland,” he said.

The Santa Maria native and Righetti High School graduate also submitted his film to the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF). Selections for the LAFF will be announced in May.

Gina Herlihy is a public affairs and publications technician at Allan Hancock College.


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