By Denton Josey, Page Editor
In its third year, FilmFest seems to be making several changes.
Last year 90 students participated on 12 teams, and organizers expect even more involvement this year.
Doug Darby, creative and media specialist at ACU and FilmFest’s creator and executive director, said changes made for this year make it more attractive for participants.
“This year’s theme appeals to more people; a lot of incoming students are into it,” he said.
New to this year’s event, themed ‘Unreel,’ is a five-minute time limit. This will allow for more films to be viewed and it should make things easier for teams, Darby said.
Teams can submit movies in four categories: music videos, entertainment, informational (documentaries and commercials) and non-traditional/special.
Video iPods are what winners will take home this year.
The top producer, technical director, director, sound design writer and production designer will each be a candidate for the prizes. Darby said he is also working on a way to recognize actors for the first time.
Matt Maxwell, senior electronic media major from Abilene, is student director of FilmFest for the third year. He and Darby aspire to enable students to make a movie regardless of the background in film they have or if they have any equipment.
“All they have to have is an idea, and we provide everything else,” Maxwell said.
There is a computer lab open through Oct. 15 with 10 stations and a lab assistant to help with editing. Video equipment is also available to be checked out, and there are workshops to help contestants better understand how to make their movies.
“The workshop is more streamlined and easier to digest,” Darby said. “It will be more beneficial to the teams.”
Although check-in and the creative workshop take place on Sept. 16 during pledging, Darby said students shouldn’t let that stop them. He said they should let him know about their involvement ahead of time and get the information later.
With the final list of judges incomplete, Darby said several judges have confirmed: Randy Brewer, Monica Jiminez-Grillo, Nelson Coates, Stephen Bailey and Cary Roberts.
The panel has had increased involvement each year, and this year there will be a reception for judges and participants so there can be more dialogue and feedback for the filmmakers from the judges.
“What we do is very unique,” Darby said as he refers to FilmFest as “an odd creature.”
He said the goal is to provide students and ACU the opportunity to explore and be creative with media.
“Locally, there is no other school that does anything remotely like this,” he said.
Compared to other events such as Freshman Follies or Sing Song, FilmFest is young, and Maxwell said he loves “seeing how it is growing and how students are becoming involved.”
“FilmFest is right up my alley,” Maxwell said. “I love managing FilmFest because I get to work with fellow students and the camaraderie that comes between the co-chairs.”
The premiere for FilmFest is Nov. 3 at the Paramount Theater. Between now and then Maxwell and Darby have a considerable amount of work to do, but despite the long hours he puts in, Maxwell said coordinating the event is worth it.
“The big payoff is premier night; it is incredible,” he said.