FilmFest will be free of charge to students, faculty and staff for the first time in the event’s eight-year history.
The annual event will feature six, possibly seven video entries from students Friday night at the Paramount Theatre, beginning at 8 p.m.
Tom Craig, director of student activities, said a sponsorship from the Students’ Association and Campus Activities Board made free admission possible.
“We were able to make admission free for anyone with a valid ACU ID,” Craig said. “This is the first time we’ve been able to do that. Without an ID, admission is $5.”
Craig said the theme for this year’s event, “Light,” is intentionally broad to give students creative freedom.
“It’s a nugget for them to interpret to give them a starting point,” he said. “It’s broad on purpose to give them as much freedom as possible.”
Ben Weaver, sophomore multimedia major from Fort Worth, said his experience at FilmFest last year propelled him toward this year’s event.
“FilmFest is about creating a work of art and having people come see it,” Weaver said. “I met with other creators last year and now we’re working together this time around.”
Each entry must fit several content guidelines, including a three-six minute time frame. Craig said the Friday night event will show all the entries, and on Saturday judges will talk with the student directors and name winners.
“There will be five judges; three from outside Abilene and two faculty members,” Craig said. “They all bring different forms of expertise, whether it be in digital media, acting, music videos or something else.”
Craig said the judges bring opportunities as well as evaluations for student directors.
“Judges are really good about giving students as much information they can and sometimes real opportunities to get their foot inside the door of the industry,” he said. “We’ve had judges offer students jobs before.”
Craig encouraged students to head out to the event downtown Friday night.
“It will be a great time to see students’ work on the big screen in the Paramount,” he said. “This is going to be a busy weekend, and this will be a great way to kick off the weekend activities.”
Craig said one entry hasn’t been submitted yet but the director is working on completing it for the competition.
“We try to work with students as best we can if they run into situations beyond their control,” Craig said.