Enochs High School graduate Andrew Wong has his tux ready.
That’s good, because in about a month, he will be rubbing shoulders with the stars at the Cannes International Film Festival. The Modesto native and California State University, San Francisco, student’s short film “Speeding Ticket” was selected among 26 student projects from across the country for the honor to go to the prestigious event.
In September, Wong, a 2012 Enochs grad, entered the Campus MovieFest. Students from more than 80 campuses across the country and in the United Kingdom participate in what is touted as the world’s largest student film festival. Wong, a second-year film student at CSU, San Francisco, entered his five-minute comedy and took home the award for campus best picture.
As his school’s winner, he was entered among hundreds of other campus winners to be selected to screen at the Cannes Short Film Corner.
“I am so excited, and it’s such a big honor,” Wong said. “Never could have imagined something like this could happen.”
Wong, whose parents live in Modesto, wanted to be a novelist when he was growing up. But when he got to high school, he said he realized movies were another way to tell stories.
“I came to the realization that when people read a novel, they have their own unique picture in head,” he said. “But I wanted them to see what I wanted them to see and hear what I wanted to hear.”
So he took a visual arts class at Enochs and wound up being president of the Video Arts Class and Club for two years. He started making his own movies around that time, though he admits his first effort was “pretty horrible.”
Now in college, Wong said he constantly is working on film projects – either writing or filming. He entered the Campus MovieFest for the challenge: The competition has students complete a five-minute film in one week. Wong had only a $25 budget and filmed the whole thing in one night.
The story is about a guy named Joey who is persuaded to go to a blindfolded speed-dating event and meets someone, only to have to try to find her again afterward. As a campus winner, Wong’s film will compete in the Campus MovieFest Hollywood national event in June. But it also was put up for consideration for the Cannes festival, along with the winners from the other schools. And then he was selected.
“I definitely have always fantasized about something like this happening,” Wong said. “Could I have imagined something like this happening so soon, not only in college, but sophomore year? I could have never imagined that.”
He leaves for Cannes, in the south of France, May 12 and will be there through the end of the festival, May 24. But his travel plans had to first be worked out with his professors. The festival begins the day before finals start, so he will take his exams early.
“My parents were like, ‘This is good, but your grades first,’ ” he said. But his parents, he said, are very proud of his work. His father is a manager at Save Mart and his mother is a sociology professor at California State University, Stanislaus.
“My dad immigrated over here, and their goal when they came to America was so their kids could chase their dreams. That passion and devotion led me to this,” Wong said.
While at Cannes, Wong will get to attend other screenings including some of the premieres of featured films at the ritzy and star-studded festival. His goal while there will be to experience as much of the event as possible.
“I hope to make some contacts there in France and drink in as much culture as I can,” Wong said. “With the contacts I make, I hope to propel my career and get on the path I want. I want to really start reaching more people with my work.”
Currently, the public can see some of his creations as well as his award-winning short “Speeding Ticket” on his YouTube channel, AWSoyProductions.
In the future, he is interested in pursuing travel cinematography, such as the work of Anthony Bourdain and Samantha Brown. But, while at Cannes, Wong said he isn’t above going a little Hollywood.
“If I see Leonardo DiCaprio, I am going to go crazy,” he said.