arts   |   coronavirus

IU Cinema and Media School staff organize online student film festival for Thursday



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Students film the movie "Graduation" directed by Clarisse Gamblin on Sept. 14, 2019. The movie will be shown at IU's student film festival Montage on Thursday. Courtesy Photo

IU Cinema moved its student film festival, Montage: A Celebration of Moving Pictures, online after COVID-19 disrupted the spring semester. The festival will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The program, comprised of 13 films, will last about an hour and a half, according the IU Cinema website. The event is free, and attendees can find a link to access the festival on the website. Viewers can stream the program until May 3.

There will be an introduction via Zoom by IU Cinema founding director Jon Vickers, Cinema Academy director Craig Erpelding and Alexa Enoch, an IU senior and president of the Student Cinema Guild. Following the screenings there will be a student award ceremony over Zoom at 8:40 p.m. Those interested can sign up for both Zoom sessions on the website.

Erpelding said this is the event’s second year. 

Students could only submit films they finished between the 2019 spring semester and the 2020 spring semester, said Andrew Behringer, the assistant director of the Cinema Academy. Enoch said students could submit their own work or professors could submit it.

“They’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Behringer said of the students. “We wanted to make sure and still give not only them but the community at large the chance to see their accomplishments.”

Erpelding said students rely on film festivals to put their work out in the world. Festivals such as Sundance, the largest independent film festival, receive more than 14,000 submissions every year, according to the Film Independent website

The Cinema Academy helped put together the Montage film festival so students would have the opportunity to showcase their work in a film festival.

Behringer said 13 films for Thursday’s program were selected from over 50 submissions.

He said if the event were on campus, the Cinema Academy would have shown all 50 films in the Franklin Hall Commons before the select showing later that night. Instead, links for all films will be available on the Cinema Academy website.

Erpelding said another festival goal is to place students out in the job market. IU Cinema and the Cinema Academy invited around 12 alumni who are connected to the film industry to judge the festival.

The alumni include Dave Neustadter, a producer for movies such as “The Nun” and the Annabelle movies, and Jessica Petelle, a producer for TV shows such as “The Shannara Chronicles” and “V-Wars.” 

This gives students the opportunity to connect with alumni and potentially find a job, Erpelding said.

Erpelding said the online showing will likely attract more viewers than last year’s in-person viewing because people are at home and anyone with the internet can view the festival.

“Everybody wants to be able to engage even during this time,” he said.

Behringer said he does not think the move to a virtual showing will affect viewers’ enjoyment or analysis.

“I think that it will almost be more special in a way because it now is heavily contrasting with the mundaneness of what our existence has been,” he said.

Enoch said she did not submit anything this year, but she is glad the Cinema Academy and IU Cinema decided to continue with the event.

“I still think it's important that anyone interested in cinema or cinema students at IU get the recognition that they deserve,” she said. “This takes so much hard work, and the fact that they’re still putting that on is really meaningful to IU students.”

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