The fifth annual International Film Festival was held April 13-17 at both Missouri Western and the East Hills Library in celebration of the greatly established film industry over time.
Over 90 films were submitted for consideration by festival judges, professional directors and producers made appearances throughout the week. In addition, many producers and directors gave numerous speeches throughout the week at the Blackbox Theater, inside Potter Hall, at 3 p.m. These professional directors and producers include Roger Rawlings, Trey Hock, Lars Pederson Arendt, Taymar Pixley and Andy Meger-who produced the famous films of “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “The Breakfast Club.”
The films were screened from 7-9pm at East Hills Library and in Potter Hall’s Black Box Theater Mon. thru Fri. were there were numerous appearances not only by professionals but students as well. Kelly Witenberg, director of the festival and faculty advisor of communications studies: theater and video, felt that the students and speakers coming to the film festival showed great appreciation and desire for the films.
“The purpose of the film festival is to provide an academic enrichment experience for students,” Witenberg said. “Our speakers have varied from filmmakers, to documentary filmmakers, to acting workshop leaders, to try to create the film making career a possibility for students.”
Witenberg added that the film festival has greatly helped students who have a passion or interest for this type of career.
“[The students] have to create their own niche. You have to create a place for yourself,” Witenberg said. “It’s good to bring people from the outside to provide a different perspective.”
Freshman Jared Sprangler, who attended the film festival on Monday and Tuesday and expresses a passion for film directing, was very happy and pleased with many of the films.
“I just wanted to see what the films were like,” Sprangler said. “The films were well made and well shot.”
Sprangler also expressed that he admired the film entitled “Our Daily Bread,” which was a short film about free-gans, people who live off of free food from trash cans and other means of the earth, and don’t believe in buying food.
“It made an interesting economic project,” Sprangler said “My favorite genre is action, I want to use it to teach what I know and inspire someone else and entertain.”
Sprangler also included that he is a member of 816 Films, the only film production organization here on campus. 816 Films added great participation to the festival as it was recommended that they attend the festival to show support and grab tips for fresh ideas for future film making. Freshman Carlos Gomez, secretary and one of the original creators of 816 Films expressed how the film festival really helped him see filming in a new concept.
“I just want to learn what people like about short films,” Gomez said. “[The film festival] showed me a lot of concepts that I’ve never thought of before.”
Gomez also added his opinion of the impact of experiential films versus mainstream films. Experiential films, which are typically more graphic and are not mainly seen to public in popular blockbuster and other film productions, were the most common films submitted for the festival.
“Experimental films actually look into the heart and soul of the people,” Gomez said.
With great participation from numerous film producers and numerous students with an actual passion for the craft as well, the film festival was very successful for its fifth year. For the future, the film festival plans to only grow bigger, brighter, and contain more lights, cameras, and of course action!