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SMC Student Film to Screen at Cannes

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By Lookout Staff

May 9, 2023 -- "Azizam" -- a short film written and directed by Santa Monica College (SMC) student Alci Rengifo -- will be screened at The American Pavilion at the world-renown Cannes Film Festival this month.

The film is the only entry in the Emerging Stude­­nt Showcase, which takes place from May 20 to 27, by a community college and the eighth by an SMC student to be screened, college officials said.

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Produced by Jose Gutierrez and Katia Arami, “Azizam” is the story of two young students "from opposite ends of society" who meet in 1971 Iran, "where revolution hangs in the air," officials said.

“When we began making 'Azizam,' the challenge was to tell this story in a way where we could prove the power of film to erase artificial boundaries,” Rengifo said.

“Although I am Latino, I grew up hearing about the Iranian Revolution through my mother, a Salvadoran immigrant who met Iranian students about to participate in the revolution when she moved to the United States in the 1970s.

"My hope was to challenge how that particular era tends to be seen purely from a western perspective in mass media,” Rengifo said.

Azizam poster

Salvador Carrasco, who heads the school's film production program, called "Azizam" the "quintessential example of the 'global citizenship' approach to filmmaking" embraced by the program.

“The film was written and directed by a half-Salvadoran, half-Colombian student who immersed himself in the specificity and complexities of Persian culture," Carrasco said.

"Azizam," which is in Farsi, "managed to achieve a powerful cinematic story that transcends borders and achieves a truly universal dimension,” he said.

“Broken Layers,” the last SMC film accepted into the Emerging Student Showcase, won Best Short.

Several films that have played at The American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase have gone on to be shortlisted for Academy Award nominations.

For more information on The American Pavilion at Cannes, visit

SMC offers an Associate of Science degree and Certificate of Achievement in Film Production. To learn more, visit or email

The film program and the resulting films are on the “Santa Monica College Film Program” channel on YouTube.

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