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Night of film & music tonight at Kelley Bros. benefits class
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Manteca filmmaker Jon Walkup credits his time in the video production class at Sierra High School – where he graduated from last year – as providing him with the supportive environment he needed to tackle his artistic endeavors.

And now he’s doing something to give back.

Tonight Walkup is hosting “A Night of Film and Music” at Kelley Brothers Brewing Co. in the 100 block of East Yosemite as a fundraiser to help outfit the video production class with new materials that will help aspiring filmmakers and movie fanatics learn about how much fun creating something from scratch can actually be.

Initially just armed with a camcorder and some friends chronicling their random adventures, Walkup – now a student at Modesto Junior College planning to pursue his film career beyond the following he has already created – has since expanded to larger and more elaborate shorts. It runs the gamut from silly music videos to sketches dealing with zombies and ghosts. Just last week he posted his newest creation, dubbed The Relationship, to his YouTube account and has already garnered more than 3,400 views from people around the world.

“That was a class that I enrolled in every semester for the last two years I was there,” Walkup said of the video production class. “Not only was it for filmmaking, but it was a place where you could just hang out with people who liked movies. It was kind of a geeky place where I could hang out with the people that shared the same interests as me.

“But the place didn’t really have the equipment necessary for making movies, and that’s something that I want to change for those who come after me and want to do the same things.”

Depending on the amount of money raised from the $2 admission price and the separate donations people make to the cause, Walkup is hoping to outfit the class with some new tripods, or possibly new computer software that can aid in the editing of video footage – depending on how much money is actually raised.

Now that he’s actually getting paid for his productions – recently signing a contract making him a Google business partner – Walkup hopes that he’ll be able to provide a Sierra student with some of the tools that they’ll be able to use to set themselves on the same track if that’s what they want to pursue.

“What I love about the movies is the storytelling,” Walkup said. “There’s nothing like storytelling, and with a little bit of work anybody can do that.”

When he first started posting the videos showing him and his friends staging random skits, Walkup felt like he had hit the big time when he had 1,000 people subscribe to his channel. Now he has more than 8,000 followers, and has submitted some of his recent completed work to various film festivals including South by Southwest – the annual music and film festival held in Austin, Texas, every year.

He is currently searching for funny people to star in the 2011 line of video shorts he’s planning on producing for his new YouTube series.

“Things have been going really well, and right now I just want to get as many people to come out Thursday and enjoy themselves,” he said. “It’s going to be a good time, and it’s going to benefit a good cause.”

For only $2, guests will be admitted and treated to four or five films submitted by students and other independent filmmakers from around the area. Local musicians Jason Clark and Cheyenne Milligan will also be performing. Tickets will be available at the door.

To view some of Walkup’s recent creations, visit his YouTube site at, or visit his website at