By Mitch Holt, Copy Editor
FilmFest is a great idea, and as the third annual FilmFest participants get their videos ready for a Nov. 3 premier, a few things should be remembered.
Last year, for the most part, was well organized, well attended, well judged and entertaining.
However, the entire process of FilmFest has the potential to make or break the university’s student film reputation, so a few elements should be remembered for the sake of future FilmFests.
The second annual FilmFest took place last fall as hundreds of students and faculty piled into the Paramount Theatre for Premier Night of the festival.
The evening showcased video productions created by students of the university and presented awards to superior aspects of certain films.
FilmFest presents the university with an interesting opportunity it rarely had before the competition began-the opportunity to get its foot in the door of the video and film industry.
Students interested in film and in attending the university might come to FilmFest and decide simply from one night of observation whether or not this university is the place they want to study film.
The possibilities and benefits of the competition are endless.
Three things should be pinpointed and perfected if FilmFest is going to establish itself as a legitimate showcase of ACU’s film talent.
First, quality of films needs to be confronted by possibly separating the experienced and inexperienced contestants, or only allowing films that go through a try-out process into the festival.
According to the FilmFest Web site, along with showcasing films, education is a major component of the entire process. Students learn video editing programs through workshops taught by university faculty. Often students learn a program, make their films and immediately enter them in the competition.
The mistake comes in here. Students who have just learned the programs should be tutored about how to become a better filmmaker, but they should not enter in the same competition as more experienced filmmakers. It’s simply unfair to inexperienced and experienced entries alike.
Allowing a low-quality film into the competition and putting it up against high-quality films is like putting a toddler on a motorcycle. He or she simply isn’t ready.
Second, organization and communication, major elements in any large-scale event, could be improved from last year.
For the most part, FilmFest planners did a great job. Premier night went well and as planned, and the high-profile judges flew in from all over the country and did a solid job judging each film.
However, one category of FilmFest few people even knew about was the Exposition category. The Exposition was supposed to allow students with longer films that didn’t meet competition standards the opportunity to show a short excerpt of his or her film at Premier Night and then the next day at the FilmFest symposium where they were supposed to receive feedback from the judges.
Several students worked on longer films for months, paid the money to get into the Exposition, yet never got their films shown or critiqued because judges had to catch planes out of Abilene.
This side category is a good idea, but it just fell by the wayside because of miscommunication. Although students in the Exposition got their money back, the organizers can’t refund the time spent on the film.
Third, contestants should be able to use whatever editing programs they want to use.
Now, they are required to use iMovie for all editing, which is an easy program to learn and good for beginners, but also a possible hindrance to experienced filmmakers.
Some students might say this freedom might give them a winning edge over people who don’t have these programs or are less talented, but let them have a winning edge. The results are priceless. When students are regulated, their creativity suffers as well. Allow students to use whatever resources they can find-the results will be worth the change.
FilmFest can go from good to exceptional through the tweaking of a few details. The university’s future in student film appears brighter if planners keep an open mind and constantly make changes.