Festival offers student filmmakers campus-wide audience

Aspiring filmmakers from the College will have a chance to screen their work when WTSR’s “The Matt and Kat Show” and the College Union Board (CUB) present the second Student Film Festival on Sunday Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. in the Travers/Wolfe main lounge. Admission to the event, which features a variety of films made by students at the College, is free.

The College offers a series of film classes, including motion picture production and documentary film production, but no specific film major. This leaves many student films unscreened.

Senior communication studies majors Matthew Lawrence and Katrina Seftel of WTSR’s “The Matt and Kat Show” recognized this need and stepped in to give students a forum for screening and discussion.

“I had just completed a 20-minute short and I really wanted to have it screened for the student body,” Lawrence said. “But there was no event where students could screen their works.”

Through a mutual friend, Lawrence got in touch with CUB. Together, they organized the first Student Film Festival, which was held last April.

“Aside from some minor glitches, like the fire alarm going off, last year’s film festival was a great success,” Lawrence said.

According to both Lawrence and CUB film series coordinator Amy Lawrence, the success of last year’s event set the stage for similar programs in the future. “Last year it was very successful and there were lots of really impressive student films, so we thought it would be a good idea to have another film festival,” she said.

Last year, hundreds of students turned out to screen about 35 projects. The event coordinators are hoping for an even larger turnout this year.

“There were a wide variety of films shown in last year’s festival, including comedies, horror films, films created for art classes and even documentaries,” Amy Lawrence said. The films on this year’s agenda should be equally diverse and entertaining.

The festival is a chance for students to gather feedback on their work, an opportunity that is invaluable to aspiring filmmakers. “I think it’s really important to show your work to people that aren’t your friends and family,” Matt Lawrence said. “It gives you a better idea of what you’ve accomplished.”

Both Matt Lawrence and Seftel are in the communication studies department’s radio/television track, which focuses on radio, film and television production. With the film festival, they hope to spread the works of their fellow students outside the confines of the department.

“I think it’s important to show non-Film/TV/Radio students that there are kids here doing some really creative, engaging and funny works,” Matt Lawrence said.

At its core, the festival is a chance for students to share their passion for the medium. “Basically, I love film,” Matt Lawrence said. “Plus, I’m really curious about what my peers are doing and this gives us an opportunity to preview each other’s works and analyze them.”

The Student Film Festival is still accepting submissions for this year’s program. For more information, or to submit a film to the festival, please email cub@tcnj.edu.