The 17th annual FilmFest Gala, organized by the Learning Studio will take place at 8 p.m. Friday at the Beauchamp Amphitheater.
Melissa Henderson, director of this year’s short film festival, has worked with FilmFest and the Learning Studio since 2015 and said preparation for FilmFest has been a far different experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last April we hosted our first ever FilmFest Live Stream, which received nearly 1,000 views,” Henderson said. “We worked diligently with the Learning Studio, ACUTV, ACU students, ACU faculty, industry professionals and more to be able to offer a polished Gala experience as similar as possible to what we’ve offered in the past. This year, we committed to hosting all workshops and events virtually, or as close to normal as possible.”
The festival will be free and open for the entire community to attend in person. The amphitheater can hold up to 600 socially-distanced visitors following COVID-19 restrictions.
Carrie Johnston, student FilmFest co-chair, said organizers partner with student filmmakers across campus to help make them better creators.
“After we show the films, we give them awards for their hard work they’ve accomplished over the year, ” said Johnston, sophomore journalism major from San Antonio.
FilmFest distributed 13 awards in 2020, including Best Picture, Director, Producer and several others. Organizers expect to have a similar number this year.
Dr. Kyle Dickson, director of the Learning Studio and professor of language and literature, said the best way for students to get involved with FilmFest is to attend the festival in person on Friday.
“It’s a great chance to see some remarkable student films and to get inspired for next year,” Dickson said.
Henderson said she’s enjoyed watching students learn and grow in their craft despite the challenges during a pandemic.
“The goal is always to celebrate student work and to honor the time and effort the teams spend crafting a script, casting actors, learning how to produce a short film and applying what they’ve learned,” Henderson said. “It’s been a pleasure to see so many students following the example of professional filmmakers, making films safely despite pandemic challenges.”