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Sierra High grads enter music video festival
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Sierra High graduate John Walkup is hoping that his first ever foray into the world of music video directing is a fruitful one.

Earlier this month, Walkup learned that his entry to the massive South by Southwest (SXSW) Multimedia Festival – a zombie love-themed adventure set to “Accompagne Moi” by French exchange student Morgan Manifacier – was in the running for more than two months and missed the cut two weeks before final selections were announced.

But when he hosted a fundraiser at Kelley Brothers last year – dubbed “A Night of Film and Music” – to benefit the filmmaking class at Sierra High School, he invited a producer that liked what he had put together so much, he started following the young upstart moviemaker.

When the producer saw his recent film – a two-month long project for Walkup – he tapped him and friend Kenneth Beckerdite to host the first ever Teen Truth Fim Festival at the Stockton Empire Theater next month.

Held in conjunction with the fourth annual San Joaquin International Film Festival, the experience will give Walkup, who is currently in his second semester at Modesto Junior College, the chance to learn more about the movie industry from long-term filmmakers and insiders that he hopes will take a liking to his directorial eye.

“What’s great about it is it’s an international festival, so there will be submissions from all over the country and all over the world,” he said. “I’m still waiting to hear back on the zombie music video, but being asked by Shane Williamson to host this is a great honor.”

While the song by Manifacier has nothing at all to do with zombies, Walkup – who has long been a cult follower of both current and past zombie films – thought that casting the walking dead in a realistic light might be something that people aren’t expecting to see in a video that showcases a song with such a beautiful melody.

“Everyone always sees zombies being the villain,” he said. “I thought, ‘What if they were like regular people? What if they were like a regular couple that went out for a picnic, and took pictures together the same way that couples I know do on a regular basis?

“We took that concept and we ran with it.”

The festival – which begins on March 18 – accepted submissions up until Feb. 11.

For additional information about the festival, visit Teen Truth’s website at To view Walkup’s submission, visit his YouTube channel at