Cal State Fullerton alum filmmaker focuses on inclusion (and dogs) to win festival awards – Orange County Register

Cory Reeder’s short film “Best Friend” won two awards at the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge in May. (Photo courtesy of Cory Reeder)

When Cory Reeder graduated in communications with a concentration in radio-TV-film in January 1998, Cal State Fullerton wasn’t exactly a prestige film school. It didn’t have the facilities, resources or industry connections of a USC, UCLA or, now, Chapman University.

But its shortcomings ended up providing a rehearsal of sorts for Reeder as he pursued his career as a filmmaker in Hollywood. Having to scrape together what he required to make student films was good practice for the scraping together that making films and music videos typically requires in the real world.

“If we were to jump ahead 20 years, it turned out to be great,” said Reeder, who runs Renaissance Man Productions in Los Angeles. “In videos, we find ourselves not affording certain things. It forces you to come up with the look the band wants, but without money. How can you replicate it?”

Cory Reeder works as a filmmaker in Hollywood, making music videos, short films and other productions. (Photo courtesy of Jesse DeYoung)

Now mid-career, Reeder can see through the lens of his own history that the scraped-together experiences, education and events – not all welcome at the time – have helped make him the filmmaker he is today.

That includes being the winner of best film in the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge in May. His short film “Best Friend” also won the award for best awareness campaign.

“It’s not strong-handed. Not preaching to people,” Reeder said. “These are people in a life that are just being people.”

Reeder’s film has racked up more than 50,000 views, said Nic Novicki, founder and director of the challenge, “which is a win for both Cory and Easterseals’ goal of changing the way the world defines and views disability.”

Gitane Neil and Kim Kendall perform a scene in the short film “Best Friend” in Los…

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