David Cheng is the young film producer who created the "We Believe" video that helped woo Michelle Obama to campus for Commencement in May. Cheng was also the founder and president of LightStudio, a multimedia production club at UC Merced and in 12 countries across the globe. In his spare time, he performed original compositions for the piano at a number of student recitals. 
But that was freshman year; this is now.
LightStudio, renamed Film Association , has grown by leaps and bounds at UC Merced. The dramatic increase in membership has also brought in a wider variety of interests and skill levels; Cheng redesigned the club to feature two departments, one for beginners and traditional filming, and the second for more advanced techniques, including animation and special effects.
Cheng attributes the success of the film club to its products. "People can see our work and see that we are a group of students who are really interested in multimedia production. We actually go out there and film, and we do production. We are attracting more and more people who are passionate about film."
He is clearly appreciative of the fact that being at a new and smaller university is what affords him opportunities to bring his passion to life on campus.
His ultimate goal is to bring more of the art of motion pictures to UC Merced, and he is pushing for the development of film-related classes. To that end, Cheng has been working with the Film Association advisor Dunya Ramicova , professor of fine arts in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts , to create a curriculum for a class that could exist as early as next year.
Meanwhile, Cheng has declared himself an economics major with a minor in literature, and has taken on an internship with the university's Office of Communications to help the campus increase its online multimedia offerings.
"We are in the process of making an admissions video. Animation and graphics require a lot of work to make them look professional," he said of the 15 to 18 hours a week he dedicates to the internship. "I just want to contribute and to experience working in an office environment. They are all really nice people, and I have already learned a lot from them."
For Cheng, the university is fresh ground for planting the seeds of the future, and he refuses to waste time waiting for someone else to make something happen. As usual, he is planning past the next big milestone. In the works is a proposal for what he hopes will be the first of many film festivals to be hosted by UC Merced.
"It will showcase the students of the Central Valley, and submissions from the general public will also be welcome."