Local festival showcases variety of films

Cameron Lew wants people to give back when they shop.

So the 15-year-old made a short documentary, "Factory in a Box," based on the nonprofit Faces Behind the Label. The Huntington Beach-based organization gives people living in rural China the chance to set up their own T-shirt factories — in a box.

The residents are able to provide for their families and communities without having to migrate, thanks to the factories, which are set up in boxes the size of shipping containers, Cameron said.

Once the T-shirts are done, Faces Behind the Label helps sell them, he said.

Cameron's father, Michael Lew, founded Faces Behind the Label about two years ago.

"I always wanted to do a documentary about a cause," Cameron said.

This isn't Cameron's first short movie, but it is his first documentary. "Factory in a Box" will be screened for the first time at the SoCal Film Festival at the Huntington Beach Central Library, event director Brian Barsuglia said.

"Factory in a Box" is among 20 others in the documentary category. It will also be in the Youth Movement category, which highlights work done by filmmakers younger than 18.

Because Cameron couldn't travel with his father to China, he gave him his camera and asked him to document the faces behind the labels.

When Michael Lew got back, Cameron got to work. He wrote the story line to match the videos and the photos. He's hoping the documentary will be an eye-opener.

"We can't stop everyone from buying products from China," Cameron said. "I want people to start giving back from what they buy."

The festival, now in its seventh year, showcases features, shorts, documentaries and foreign films. This year's program showcases 106 films, with entries from the United States, Mexico, Canada, Turkey, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, Australia, Serbia, Iceland and Germany.

"It's been great to have the festival here in Huntington Beach," Barsuglia said. "I just look forward to new people coming out every year and seeing these great movies they may not have a chance to see otherwise."

While the festival places a strong emphasis on up-and-coming actors and filmmakers, viewers may recognize a few faces. Edward Furlong of "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "American History X" appears in the short film "License to Reproduce," while James Cromwell of "Babe" and "L.A. Confidential" stars in the thriller "A Lonely Place for Dying."

The latter film has had an unusual distribution history, according to Barsuglia. Its director, Justin Evans, released the first 30 minutes for free online. The entire film will screen at the festival.

"He thought, 'Why not make my movie available to people who want to watch movies?'" Barsuglia said. "It's one of the most downloaded movies ever."

michael.miller@latimes.com, mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @HBindependent

If You Go

What: SoCal Film Festival

Where: Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave.

When: Until Sunday

Cost: $5 to $7 per event or $40 for an All Fest Pass

Information: http://www.socalfilmfest.com or http://www.fbtl1218.com

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