From Hollywood to the Campanile: How UC Berkeley student Daniel Menegaz is bringing A24 to campus

Sunny Shen/Staff

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When A24 first popped onto the film scene in 2012, it was relatively quiet — just another indie production and distribution company competing with its counterparts to find the next “Little Miss Sunshine” or “Donnie Darko.” Yet in its astonishingly short six years of existence, A24 has made a household name of itself. The precocious company has shaken up Hollywood by churning out hit after hit, grossing hundreds of millions of dollars and winning a plethora of accolades. The company even picked up a coveted Oscar for best picture with “Moonlight” (shocking, given the “La La Land” mix-up) in the most dramatic final minutes of the 2017 Academy Awards.

With a film library that defies genres, from the skin-crawling “Hereditary” to the heartwarming “Lady Bird,” the toddler company has gained a cult following for its small-budget, unique stories and viral marketing gimmicks. Its latest marketing strategy? Spreading its brand across college campuses through “campus representatives,” college students across the country working to integrate A24 films into their local schools’ campus life.

UC Berkeley junior and A24 campus representative Daniel Menegaz is excited to be a part of the fledgling program and to work to increase the indie film company’s presence in Berkeley.

“(Berkeley has) a thriving art community,” he said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “(It’s) big enough so we can expand beyond that thriving art community and reach people with the messages and content of A24’s films.”

The position is the perfect fit for Menegaz, both as an A24 enthusiast and outgoing art lover. Menegaz recounted paying to see “Lady Bird” twice in spite of having a MoviePass subscription. “I’m really excited to have already been able to work with a lot of student organizations and really excited to work with other student organizations in the future, because I meet people and connections through art,” Menegaz said.  

His eagerness for connecting with people through art and film is evident. As he encourages A24 fans or those interested in learning more about the company to come out to the events, he also invites them to reach out to him personally, which isn’t “some … unashamed self-promotional pitch,” he swore. “If people are curious about A24, they can always … come talk to me about it through the Facebook page or shoot me an email.” But he asserted that the best way “to really understand what A24 is about is to watch their movies.”

Menegaz’s multipronged plan to get Cal students interested in A24 goes beyond just showing screenings of its films. Already a member of SUPERB, a UC Berkeley organization dedicated to providing students with various forms of entertainment, he has used his club affiliation to bring A24 films to campus.

“But that’s only part of what I’m doing with the internship. The goal is to partner and collaborate with as many student groups and organizations as possible, because I’m trying to get every group at UC Berkeley introduced with A24,” Menegaz explained.

Already putting on a screening of “Moonlight” in conjunction with ASUC Senator Teddy Lake, he has many more plans for the fall semester. Coming up, SUPERB will screen A24’s “Hereditary” in October, and Menegaz has partnered with UC Berkeley’s arts and fashion publication, “BARE Magazine,” for an editorial collaboration about Jonah Hill’s upcoming directorial debut “Mid90s” that he hopes will “get the aesthetic and nostalgia of the ‘90s buzz on campus.”

So why should UC Berkeley students be excited about A24 films?

“Because they’re ‘expletive’ amazing!” Menegaz enthused. “A lot of them have an intelligence and a human quality to them that isn’t found in a lot of movies that are coming out. … They’re thought-provoking, they’re about relationships, they’re about portraits of real people and intimacy. … A24 is producing movies that they know will connect with their audience.”

Contact Julie Lim at [email protected].