Before becoming a filmmaker, Tricia Creason-Valencia was organizing events to combat violence against women. She still has pretty much the same job, but now gets her message out via documentary film.

When she isn’t taking trips with the Multicultural Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) to help artists in other communities, she can be found in the bleachers of a San Jose Giants game with her father.

We talked to Creason-Valencia about her favorite hole-in-the-wall comic book shop, why she’d end up as a sports coach in another life and how she got her start in film. What do you love most about San Jose?

Creason-Valencia: My favorite thing about San Jose is that it’s a big city that really feels like a small town. The artist community here is very connected and it’s great that I’m able to raise my children in a very diverse and thriving community.

Where would you have your last meal on earth?

The Black Bird Tavern, the food is good, the bar is fantastic and there is always great music. I wouldn’t just be able to have good food, I would also enjoy the company of the people that work and perform there.

Where is a cool place to take an out-of-towner?

If they have kids, I would make sure I would take them to the Tech Museum, but The San Pedro Square Market is one of my favorite places to take friends. I love that they have such a variety of restaurants, live music, and a neat space to hang outside.

What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall place?

Hijinx comic book store. My dad loves to go comic book shopping with me and my kids there.

What is your favorite upcoming event?

Cinequest. It is such a high caliber film festival and of the best in the world. I had a film screen in the festival last year and the experience was so rich and so fun. Not only do you get access to hundreds of super-good quality movies, but all of the programming and events they provide are great as well. It’s a really fun and easy way for me to connect with other filmmakers. Cinequest is one of the qualities that makes me proud to be from San Jose.

The Sub-Zero festival is also one of my favorite events. It usually takes place right when my kids get out of school and kicks off the summer for me.

What inspired you to become a documentary filmmaker?

I was working as a community organizer for violence against women and girls issues and through that job we had a small grant from the state of California justice department that we decided to use to produce a video to help our cause. The experience of making that video left an impact on me.

I always loved movies; my father used to take my brother and I to watch movies all the time when we were young. I decided to take a 16mm class at a local community college and within 2 weeks I knew I was this was what I was going focus on. Movies are a great way to bring voices of people who normally aren’t heard to the screen.

What is your favorite movie?

That’s a tough question to ask of a filmmaker, but one of my favorite narrative films of all-time is “The Sweet Hereafter” by Canadian director Atom Egoyan. It’s a film based on a short story by Russell Banks.

Another one of my favorites is “Amandla!,” a musical documentary about the South-African Apartheid regime and the revolution that followed. It’s a really interesting approach to the subject because it uses music so heavily.

What filmmakers inspire you?

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, a colleague of mine from San Francisco State,  inspires me with her powerful work and feminist viewpoint that is just beautiful. Renee Tajima-Peña, a professor from UC Santa Cruz that I worked with, produces prolific and interesting work.

If you weren’t a filmmaker, what would you be?

I think it would be really fun to be a coach. I coach my son’s little league team and in the past I’ve coached girls basketball. I really love sports and one of my earlier films is about female basketball players. I wouldn’t even care what sport I coached.

What is your goal as a filmmaker?

To use film as a tool for social change. I want people to watch my films and be moved to action.