SMC Student Film “Life in Color” Accepted into the American Pavilion at Cannes

Fourth SMC Film to Screen in the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase

“Life in Color”—a short film directed by Santa Monica College (SMC) alum Bishal Dutta and produced by Olivia Shapiro—has been accepted into The 21st American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. It is the fourth SMC student film to screen at Cannes.

April 17, 2018

SANTA MONICA, CA—A short film titled “Life in Color”—directed by Santa Monica College (SMC) alum Bishal Dutta and produced by student Olivia Shapiro—has been accepted into The 21st American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase during the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. SMC is the only U.S. community college represented in the showcase; other student filmmakers featured hail from USC, Chapman University, Yale School of Drama, School of Visual Arts, Art Center College of Design, and Brooklyn Film College.

The fourth SMC student film to screen at The American Pavilion, “Life in Color” was co-produced by SMC and Bridge the Divide Media, a collective of young artists and filmmakers, which includes many SMC alumni and current students (The film was made when Dutta was a student at SMC; he transferred to UC Berkeley last fall). “Life in Color”—which will screen in the Emerging Filmmaker LGBTQ Showcase category—is about Harold, an aging, closeted gay man with Alzheimer’s disease, struggling against his strong-willed daughter to hold on the memory of the man he once loved.

“I felt really passionate about ‘Life in Color,’ said Dutta, “so I surrounded myself with some of my best friends and collaborators under the mentorship of the SMC Film Program, which consistently pushes us to assert our voices and make them heard through perseverance, razor-sharp focus, and sheer willpower. We made this film as a collective effort pursuing a unifying vision, which made directing it such an incredible and humbling experience.”

A total of 27 short films and documentaries by emerging filmmakers from around the world were selected for the showcase focusing on themes as diverse as sexual assault in the entertainment industry, racism in the police force, the collective trauma of the Holocaust, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and LGBTQ+ issues.

SMC student films have won numerous accolades—including a BAFTA nomination, the Panavision Limelight Award at the Ojai Film Festival, Best Short Drama at the San Diego Film Festival, Best Short at the Prague Independent Film Festival, Special Mention at the International Festival of Film Schools in Munich, and Winner at the Women's Independent Film Festival—and have been selected to screen in numerous prestigious domestic and international film festivals.

“When it comes to the SMC Film Program, I believe our students actually have an edge because of their cultural diversity and the fact that ‘entitlement’ has no place in our filmmaking community. Everything we do is based on equity and a value system that is based on our students’ work ethic, talent, and attitude,” said SMC Film Professor Salvador Carrasco, who heads the college’s film production division. “Because of their life experiences, our students have meaningful stories to tell. ‘Life in Color’ is a great example of this: It delivers a powerful message in an affecting way.”

Several films that have played at The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase have gone on to be shortlisted for Academy Award nominations. More information is available on The American Pavilion at Cannes website.

SMC offers an Associate of Science degree and Certificate of Achievement in film production. To learn more, visit or email The film program—as well as the films that come out of it—is on YouTube as the “Santa Monica College Film Program” channel. SMC’s film production program is housed at the college’s new Center for Media and Design campus in the heart of Los Angeles’s entertainment district.

Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Santa Monica College is the leader among California’s 114 community colleges in transfers to the University of California, USC, and Loyola Marymount University. SMC also offers over 110 career-focused degrees and certificates—in fields such as Early Childhood Education, Game Design, Animation, Accounting, and many more—which prepare students for direct entry into the job market or for transfer.

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