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High school hosts 2nd annual film festival in May 

Potent: PRHS Film Festival

Paso Robles High School seniors (from left) Sam Pollock and Adam Robinson, work on film projects during class. The film student is outfitted with editing bays, green screen, high-quality cameras and microphones and a sound booth. Photo by Heather Young

All district students are invited to enter Portent: PRHS Film Festival

Paso Robles High School teacher John Rucker started the Paso Robles High School Film Festival last year with it open to just Paso High film students. That year, he had a potential of 35 students that could enter the festival. There were eight entries with awards for first, second, and third place, along with a People’s Choice Award. This year, the festival entries has been opened up to the entire Paso school district.

The films will be shown on Friday, May 22 at 3:45 p.m. in the performing arts center on the campus of Paso Robles High School. The film festival this year is free and open to the public.

“This year we hope to be a lot bigger,” said Rucker, who is in his second year teaching film at Paso Robles High.

Not only is the pool of potential film entries larger than last year, Rucker has 108 film students this year. He said he has been encouraging student film students to enter the festival. Additionally, he has contacted each principal in the district, encouraging them to share the contest with their students.

“I’m trying to get younger students [involved],” Rucker said, adding that all ages are able to enter the smartphone category, because it is a technology that is most handy for all ages at this point.

Rucker said name of the film festival — Portent — in the archaic form of the word means “an exceptional or wonderful person or thing.” He added that the film festival is doing something exceptional. One film student, senior Adam Robinson, submitted his four-minute film “Beneath” to SLO International Film Festival and it screened on March 14 as part of the Filmmakers of Tomorrow category. “Beneath” first screened in the Paso Robles High School Film Festival in 2014, along with “Ickbarr,” another film by Robinson. This year, Robinson said he will only enter one film, an action movie, because he will be hosting the event.

“I like the cooperation with friends,” Robinson said. “It’s really fun. I like creating things from scratch and putting them on film for other people to see.” Next year, he will attend Cuesta College and said he wants to become a cinematographer and make productions and films.

Senior Sam Pollock said he will enter a documentary entitled, “Ghost on VHS,” that he made with Robinson and senior Jake Wooten on a VHS camcorder.

“I really like the business a lot,” Pollock said. “I want to be a production assistant and figure out what I want to do as a career.”


  • Best Cinematic Short
  • Best Documentary/News Feature
  • Best Animation
  • Best Smartphone-Produced, the only category open to elementary and middle school students


The deadline to submit an entry is by Friday, May 15 at 4 p.m. to Rucker in Room 606 at the high school. Entries are to be submitted on thumb drive. Contact Rucker at (805) 610-7652 or with any questions.

“It’s a great experience to get your work out there,” Pollock said.

Rucker is currently seeking sponsors and donors to fund the trophies and prizes for winning entries. He said the prizes are a great incentive for the students who have put a lot of time and energy into producing the films. Awards will be given to the top three in each category.

“Support your local filmmakers,” Pollock said.

“No matter how young they are,” Wooten added.

For more information on the film festival, go to