At the Canton Palace Theater on Friday September 8, ten university students excitedly awaited the screening of some of their very own films at the First Annual International Film Festival. Judges of the film festival picked a panel of university students and alumni to screen their films during the festival.
There was a small, scattered audience in the theater, and the filmmakers were thrilled and honored to be able to show their work on such a big screen.
The films were various genres made any time within the past two years. Student and alumni directors included Stephen Thomas, Dan Walton, Alyssa Pearson, Dusty Jenkins, Michael Popp, Ryan Baechel, Taylor Hazlett, Ashley Barstow, Nate Ross, Chris DeMichel and Meredith Borling.
Credits: Music by Jordan Scott
Editing by Andrew Gates, Monica Small, Andrew Rudd
These films were also shown this past spring at the Open Frame Film Festival on campus. For several student directors, including Ashley Barstow and Dusty Jenkins, this was the first film festival they have submitted work to besides Open Frame.
“We were at a meeting for the Open Frame festival and Andrew Rudd turned to me and said, ‘Oh, that’s right, I put one of your films in the International Film Festival.’ I was pretty excited,” said senior communication arts major Dusty Jenkins.
Other students seemed just as thrilled to have their work shown. Sophomore special education/youth ministry major Ashley Barstow created a piece about her Grandma and Grandpa entitled Always. It centers on how a song influenced her grandparents, and how it affected their lives together. “It was neat to see my hobby of film making and theater turn into something more,” said Barstow.
Barstow hopes that people will “see the significance of how a song or any art can effect your life.”
The festival showed alumni films as well. Alyssa Pearson, who graduated this past May, had two films in the Festival entitled Definition and Keepsakes. “It’s a magical experience when your films get to be seen because that’s the real reason you make them,” said Pearson.
The Film Festival screened many films from the Canton area, the U.S. and around the world. Other student screening blocks included Kent State, CalArts, and Columbia University (NYC). International films were shown by genre and came from all over the word, literally. France, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Columbia and Belgium were represented, just to name a few.
The Festival also featured free workshops, artists and live musical performances.
Communication Arts Professor Andrew Rudd entered all of the students and alumni films into the festival. “It’s really special that (the festival) emphasized local artists as well. It’s sort of a big deal for people from Canton, it’s a great historical theater, it’s a great space,” said Rudd.
“We’re really not sure what will happen with the festival in the future, but I hope that it will become an annual event which is the intention of the programmers,” said Rudd.
Barstow, Pearson, and Jenkins all expressed a hope in being in the film festival in the future.
Chelsea Weikart is a staff writer for The Aviso.