Student film makers earn privilege of helping organize campus film festival

Film Festival

Every spring, the Union Film Society hosts the Union Student Film Festival.  This year, the 11th annual Union Student Film Festival will take place April 14-15.

On April 14, every film will be screened at 6 p.m. in W.D. Powell Theatre.  The directors of each film will also be there talk about their films.

On April 15, a second screening and awards show will take place at 7 p.m. in Barefoots Joe.

Grand prize awards include best long and short films, best documentary and Student Activities Council student’s choice award. Several awards are given for technical skills and acting, too.

In addition to screenings and awards, the festival includes film making workshops with special guests Timid Monster, a film collective from the Memphis area.

Chris Blair, professor of Communication Arts, is co-festival director with Cam Tracy, web developer on Union’s University Communications staff.

“The Union Film Festival grew out of the interests and passions of a small but growing film making community at Union a little over 10 years ago,” Blair said, adding that the Digital Media Studies Society, under the leadership of Cam Tracy, sponsored the first Union Film Festival in 2003.

Since then, festival has resulted in the establishment of the Union Film Society in 2010.

“It has fostered is the formation of the Union Film Society, a student organization committed to increasing interest in and understanding the art and process of film making through a variety of experiences, including film screenings, film making seminars and film projects,” Blair said.

Gabe Farmer, junior digital media studies major, is president of the Union Film Society and has a major role in planning this year’s Student Film Festival.

For Farmer, the festival is a time when the film community at Union is able to solidify and create friendships.

“It gives people who are interested in film a place to go and see what other students are doing,” Farmer said. “It lets them see who’s interested in film.”

Ben Wright, senior digital media studies major, has been submitting films to the festival since his freshman year.

“It’s the event that brings the film society to a platform where it’s recognized by most people in the community,” Wright said.

Wright has directed several Sound on Film videos and will be submitting one this year. Sound on Film is Barefoots Joe’s music video project.

“It’s a live, one-take musical performance project of Barefoots Joe,” Wright said. “It’s filmed in a very creative, modern, artistic way, reflecting other projects that are like sound on film.”

In addition to personal projects from individuals, the Union Film Society will also submit a film. The name of their film is Paradigm.

Peyton Penuel, junior digital media studies major, is director of cinematography for Paradigm.

“It’s my favorite Union Film Society production that we’ve put out,” Penuel said. “We’ve taken Union Film Society to a level that it’s always dreamed to be at. Even though our crew is small, we’re accomplishing things that we couldn’t accomplish before.”

For Farmer, Wright and Penuel, the Union Student Film Festival is an opportunity to grow in their knowledge of their art and for the Union community to see the kind work Union filmmakers are producing.


For more information about the Union Student Film Festival, including a list of past winners, visit