Student film festival celebrates 10 years

By Rebekah Otey
Staff Writer

Union’s student Film Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary April 5, 6, 8 and 9, giving student film makers an avenue to display their work on campus.

The festival, whose first three nights will take place in W.D. Powell Theater in the Penick Academic Complex, opened in 2003 with eight submissions.

The last night’s events will be held in Barefoots Joe.

“I wanted to do the film festival here because it’s a fun yet competitive way to improve one’s film making prowess and team up against other students and organizations,” said senior media communications major Aaron Rowland. “It gives you a measure other than class work in which to evaluate how you want to improve.”

Typically, 15 judges are responsible for choosing winners based on certain criteria.

“A lot of judges are previous winners. Most of them are alumni,” said Cam Tracy, web development agent in University Communications, adviser to the Digital Media Studies Society.

He is co-director of the festival with Chris Blair, professor of communication arts and coordinator of digital media studies.

“They are from all over the U.S,” Tracy said.

While some judges are able to attend the festival, much of the judging is done online. The films are sent to the judges, who watch them and send their vote in.

“One of the hardest parts of film making is determining whether or not an idea will work,” said senior media communications major Ben Haws. “If you don’t have a solid idea, your film will founder.”

Normally, the festival lasts just two days, but in honor of the anniversary, organizers added some special features for Friday and Saturday nights, including asking alumni to share some of their award-winning work from the festival’s first nine years.

Those events will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. April 5 and from 1 to 5 p.m. April 6 and again that day starting at 6 p.m. in W.D. Powell Theatre.

On April 6, some alumni will speak, and the audience will get to see some of their current film work.

Those who attend will see “Enough,” a film that garnered the SAC-sponsored Student’s Choice Award along with “best long form film” in 2011.

On April 8, the audience also will have the privilege of hearing from directors Tracy and Blair. Those who attend April 9’s event from 7:30 to 9 p.m. can view all of this year’s film submissions, followed by the awards ceremony.

“There is no feeling like seeing a creative project start as a rough idea, go through the filming process and then see it projected on a large screen and to hear the response of the audience,” Haws said.