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Festival Highlights Creativity of Student Filmmakers

Published: April 12, 2016

Festival Highlights Creativity of Student Filmmakers

Colorado College students holding their awards at the ACM Film Conference & Festival on April 1-3.

At a recent ACM conference, nearly 100 students and faculty were kept in the dark for much of the time, and they couldn’t have been happier about it.

It was the first-ever ACM Student Film Conference & Festival, and with 70 student-created films screened during the three-day event at Lawrence University, the lights were often low, but the enthusiasm was always high.

Designed to showcase film studies and student filmmakers at ACM colleges, juried awards were given for films — entries ranged from documentaries and narratives to animations and experimental works — as well as for screenplays and research papers on film studies and visual culture. Current students and recent graduates of ACM colleges were eligible to submit their work for the conference and festival.

The festival jury of accomplished film industry veterans included television agent Alan Berger, film and TV producer Phyllis Berger, actor Garrett Brown, and documentary filmmaker Louis Massiah. The festival opened with a panel discussion by jury members, and Brown, Massiah, and Alan Berger also gave individual presentations and workshops.

Screenplay reading

Festival jury member Garrett Brown (right) leading a public reading of Best Screenplay winner "Dog Days."

"One of the best parts of the festival was the conversation that happened among students between the screenings," said Catherine Tatge, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and artist-in-residence with the Lawrence film studies program.

"I saw a lot of students from different schools getting together and talking," she added, "and I think that exchange and going to some of the workshops was a great way for students to feel connected with each other and to really learn from each other."

Tatge, who was an early advocate for an ACM-wide film festival, noted the value of building bridges among students and film studies departments. "I hope this is the beginning of what will become an annual program that will really inspire students," she said.

See the list of award-winning films, screenplays, and research papers, including links to watch the films!

Awards for films, screenplays, and research

Barkley 100, a film by recent Colorado College alumnus Brendan Young about a little-known, but incredibly challenging, 100-mile footrace, was selected as the best among 150 films submitted to the festival.

A pair of Best of the Midwest Runner-Up films were selected and awards were also given for the most outstanding films in three categories — Social Impact, Production Value, and Original Concept.

Best of the Midwest award

Best of the Midwest award presentation: (l-r) Lawrence professor Amy Ongiri, Saw Min Maw (Grinnell), Robert Mahaffie (Colorado) accepting award on behalf of Brendan Young, and festival jury member Alan Berger.

Malcom Barnes, Dillon Tanner, and Charles Bayley from Colorado College received the Best Screenplay award for "Dog Days," with a Best Screenplay Runner-Up award going to Leo Leventhal from Lawrence University for "Janitors." Both screenplays received public readings coached by Brown.

Among the 15 students who presented their research at the conference, Michelle Risacher from Grinnell College was recognized for Best Paper for "Women's Time: Analyzing Female Subjectivity in Maya Deren's 'Witch's Cradle.'" Hannah Shryer (Grinnell College) was awarded Best Foreign Language Paper and two Best Paper Runner-Up awards were presented.

The Film Conference & Festival received funding from the ACM Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) program through a grant to three faculty who collaborated in planning the event: Amy Ongiri (Lawrence University), Theresa Galler (Grinnell College), and John Kaufman (Beloit College).

Photo credits: Zach Ben-Amots, Lawrence (top photo) and Alex Babbitt.


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