City student wins big at San Diego Film Festival Awards


Paul Matthew Giret wins best director for his documentary entitled “Recycled Samples.” (Photo courtesy of Noosh)

City College film student Paul Matthew Giret’s roots in music and activism in San Diego have taken him, his camera and the fruits of his labors beyond campus.


He recently won Best Director for his documentary for “Recycled Samples,” at the first annual San Diego Film Awards organized by the Film Consortium San Diego.

Giret’s three-minute documentary follows a recycling yard’s cashier, Fred Mullin, through his typical day. Mullin finds and records sounds with his cell phone in every aspect of his job, from banging on the wall of his metal shack to the glass shattering as its dumped.

“He goes out and captures all kinds of sounds during his daily adventure and takes them home, chops them up and turns them into beats,” explained Giret. “I got a chance to highlight one of my friends who does this special thing every day.”

Mullin is a San Diego DJ named Synthetic Phred. He works with Giret at Aware, a subsidiary of the non-profit organization Chance for Hope. It’s the only charitable recycling center downtown and provides the homeless with food and other support.

On the eve of the documentary’s release and the night of the awards ceremony, Giret and another musician friend, David Caballero, artistic name Guggenheim, accompanied him to the reception.

Confident that his buddy would win, Guggenheim recorded sounds throughout the event and mixed an acceptance speech on a mobile app. He put beats to it and with the announcement that “Recycled Samples” won, he played the final piece into the microphone on stage with Giret.

Giret’s film was shown first to a binational crowd in Mexico on March 7. The Binational Association of Schools of Communication of the California’s (BINACOM), with which City College is member, held their biennial meeting at Iberoamerican University in Tijuana.

“It was cool to watch the Mexican audience enjoy it,” stated Giret. “I shoot a lot down there (Tijuana) but I’ve never been able to show anything. It was really great to share my work with international students. They were interested in the music aspect as well. That was really cool.”

The filmmaker is keen on sharing his latest work with anyone wanting to use it, as long as he’s given proper credit. He explained to City Times about a new type of copyright called Creative Commons.

Giret explains that Creative Commons encourages sharing as opposed to profiting from one’s work.

“I allow them to use and manipulate it however they want. All I ask is they give me credit in return. Don’t use it for profit and they do the same thing in turn; it’s a new way of sharing. It’s the recycling of copyrights.”

Giret’s passion for film drove him to start the City Film Club four years ago. It took a year to get things going, gathering funding from the club’s efforts and from the Associated Students Government. They’re now able to produce a film a year and some films have earned the clubs’ members awards.

“Being from the professional world, it’s fun to bring professional elements of filmmaking to students, because they don’t get that in class,” stated Giret. “It’s important to learn the fundamentals but if you really want to go beyond, and how it really works, then you come to our club and take your time.”

Adding to his reel of roles in the local film scene, Giret started the San Diego Student Film Festival.

In its third year, it’s the only free student film fest in San Diego that awards cash prizes to participants. It’s on April 23 at Southwestern College, and he’s taking it off campus to other schools to learn from each other and create a citywide dialogue.

Paul Giret’s filmmaking has brought him full circle to the documentary world. About eight years ago, when he first started shooting film, he worked with an activist group called New Media Rights, and started to capture activists’ movements in San Diego.

“I didn’t have any money or my own equipment so I went there. Back then, they offered free camera equipment to anyone wanting to go out and film activists so I took advantage,” Giret said about New Media Rights.

“…It really helped me so I utilized the institution for what it was for, and gained a ton of experience and connections through it. It’s helped me invaluably and I still give back. I won’t stop ever.”

Paul Giret with Award.jpg
City College Film Club founder Paul Matthew Giret won Best Director in a Documentary at the first San Diego Film Awards. (Photo courtesy of Casey Cousins)