SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A San Jose State University film crew is recreating a John Steinbeck story that is said to be his inspiration for “The Grapes of Wrath.”
“This is a memory of John Steinbeck while he was a reporter for a San Francisco newspaper about the migrant issues in California,” said Film Director Nick Martinez.
The short story, which was included in a collection called “The Long Valley,” was written as Steinbeck’s first-person account of meeting up one morning with a struggling migrant family during the Great Depression.
The family was happy because they found work and have food they’re willing to share with a stranger.
“Everybody who comes to this country, no matter from where to seek a better life,” said actor Brett Edwards, who plays the stranger. He says the genius of Steinbeck is that even though the story came out 80 years ago, it could have been written about immigrants today.
“I don’t think much has changed in the realm of the land of opportunity and seeking out a better chance than you had,” he said.
The story is believed to be one of Steinbeck’s inspirations for his masterwork, “The Grapes of Wrath.”
“He specifically used Breakfast, this scene in the camps when they come to California,” said Martinez.
The professional cast also includes Spartan Alum Matt McTighe, who’s credits include “Get Shorty,” “Shameless” and “Hawaii 5-0.”
“You feel so proud of what you’ve created,” said film student Kara Benz.
The crew includes Spartan alums who now work in the industry, and current students with dreams of getting there.
“That’s a priceless experience because we can get a taste of the real world before we can search for jobs,” said Gaelle Calmels, an exchange student from France.
“My goal, when I graduate is to go to L.A. and produce and then one day direct,” said film student Genevieve Villarreal.
With shooting completed Spartan Film Studios hopes to have a short ready soon for the film festival circuit.
“We’ll send it to Cannes, to Sundance,” said Barnaby Dallas, Executive Producer of Spartan Film Studios.
It will also become a free resource for students at the Steinbeck Center at San Jose State.