Twenty students scattered throughout the Travers-Wolfe Hall main lounge, anxiously awaiting the hum of the projector. Most were student filmmakers, ready for their work to finally be seen.
Though the timing – a Sunday afternoon, just before the last days of class – may have deterred entries and attendance, organizers and participants called the most recent Student Film Festival, sponsored by College Union Board (CUB), a success.
“I felt the festival was very successful,” Lindsay Knight, CUB film series chair, said.
Because of restrictions on the location, the festival was held earlier this semester than in the past. “I think this might have caused the lower turnout,” Knight said. “Many students who made films for classes were not finished editing them yet.”
This year marked the third Student Film Festival. In the past, the event has been co-sponsored by WTSR’s Matt and Kat show, but this year, time constraints prevented the co-sponsorship.
Six student works, ranging from short comedies to 40-minute documentaries, were screened at the event. Knight pointed out the variety of movies in this semester’s festival, which was more diverse than usual.
“Most people think that student films are all very short, artsy movies that have been made for class,” she said. “But this definitely isn’t true.”
Knight’s festival favorites were “Green,” a black-and-white film about conformity by junior interactive multimedia major Brian Liloia, and “Saturday Night,” a short film about a night spent alone by sophomore communications studies major John Fialk.
“It reminded me of the book ‘The Giver,'” Knight said of “Green.” “(It) was pretty powerful even though it was silent.”
Liloia, who hopes to one day create video and film pieces worthy of independent film festival submission, said his film did not center on one single theme.
“There isn’t one exact message I am hoping to portray,” Liloia said. “Instead, I am hoping everyone will walk away from the video with a different impression. But if there was one message that is the most prominent, it is ‘don’t feel forced to conform to standards that you feel are not right.'”
Like many of the films screened in festivals past, this year featured many class projects by communications studies and interactive multimedia students. Liloia’s film, screened for the first time in class a few days before the festival, was one such piece.
On the other hand, Knight’s other favorite piece, “Saturday Night,” was not made for a class. It was a short version of a longer project concept, shot in a single weekend to screen at the festival.
“(I liked) it because only one person did all the work on it, which was impressive, and he had a great soundtrack,” Knight said.
Fialk’s soundtrack included “Party Hard” by Andrew WK and “Existentialism on Prom Night” by Straylight Run.
Although the turnout may not have been as strong as in the past, the coordinators are hopeful that the quality of the work will raise the profile of the event and draw a larger audience in the future.
“People are always busy right before exams,” Knight said. “But I think that everyone really enjoyed the movies they watched. I didn’t realize student films would be of such good quality.”