On Thursday, the annual Film Fest Gala will occur at the historic Paramount Theatre.
Traditionally held at the Paramount, the event is returning to the location after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was moved online in 2020 and then moved outside in 2021 to the Beauchamp amphitheater. This year’s event returns with a varying array of directors, new and old, and a staff of industry-experienced judges.
FilmFest is a student film festival wherein students will direct, write and even act in their production. The event made its debut in 2005 and has been a staple event on campus for young filmmakers ever since.
This year’s gala, much like past years, includes a panel of judges with ranging experience in the film industry. The judges for this year’s festival are Ally Beans, Sommerly Simser, Tim Holt and Melinda Simpson.
Each of these judges has expertise in different areas of the film industry, including work for Dude Perfect and Netflix. Katie Maxwell, director of FilmFest, says the criteria for finding judges revolve around the experience and knowledge they can supply to the directors.
“We look for people who are currently working within the TV and film industry and who have enough experience to actually bring their experience to their students and so our students can grow and be able to ask them questions,” Maxwell said. “We really are looking for people who have been working in the industry for a while.”
Maxwell says that this year’s gala has a less experienced group of filmmakers due to the inconsistency of the past two years with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, two ACU students will also host the gala, Landon Holub, a junior theatre major from Victoria, and Morgan Whitley, a sophomore theatre major from Georgetown. Holub and Whitley’s job for the evening will be to create a clean transition between the different showings of student films.
“The main focus of the host is always to keep everything focused on the films,” Holub says. “Then just fill some of that gap time and let the audience shake it off in between.”
Holub says they will also talk with the guest judges and lighten the audience’s mood.
FilmFest will take place this Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre, where admission to the event is free.
Here is a list of the student films being shown:
SUMMARIES BY MEDIA WRITING REPORTERS
The Bellicose and the Reverie
The Bellicose and the Reverie tells a hopeful story of two characters who are complete opposites, meant to keep audiences thinking even after the film has ended.
Crew/cast: Holly Reichling, producer, director, writer, editor, cinematography, graphic design, advertising; Ainsley Houghton, costume design, nurse; Adrian Martinez, camera operator; Daniel Meja, camera operator; Lettie Jane Myers, production design; Ana Mayes, production assistant; Ashley Burpee as Harriet; Emma Carter as Lily; Henry Ibane Paim Ignacio as Dr. Doolion; Warren Jackson as head orderly; Rodrigo Giron as orderly; Brandon Reeves as security guard.
Deja Vu tells a story of two friends, Max and Charlie, and their friendship after Charlie moves away.
Crew/cast: Holly Reichling, producer, sound design, editor; Amber Anderson, director, writer; Adrian Martinez, cinematography; Ainsley Houghton, costume design, Friend 1; Lettie Jane Myers, production design; Brianna Isham as Max; Gabriella Collins as Charlie; Henry Ibane as Friend 2; Mateo Rodrigo as Friend 3.
Face Down takes on the challenge of capturing the thrill, suspense and humor of a comedy-style murder-mystery in 10 minutes.
Crew/cast: Ryland Mallett, producer, writer, sound designer, production designer; Kaden Vasquez, director, writer, cinematographer, editor, sound designer; J.C. Gambill, composer; Jonah Norcross, sound designer, on-set staff; Isabella Birsinger, production designer, on-set staff; Carl Kimbrough, actor; Hayden Casey, actor; Chloe Munson, actress; Gabriella Lopez, actress; Ryan Chu, actor; Katelyn Graham, actress; Dawson Cate, on-set staff; Rylee Spaulding, on-set staff; Olivia Peters, on-set staff.
The creators of Sola Nocte may not be headed for careers as filmmakers, but they hope the audience appreciates the individualism that went into their effort. Sola Nocte features two dancers in different places in life who are experiencing the same obstacles, which is conveyed in their mirrored choreography.
Crew/cast: Tres Cox, writer, director, camera operator, editor; Kirsten Aguilar, choreography, actress; Rebecka Soliz, choreography, actress; Eden Barnhouse, set photography; Cristian Villanueva, drone operator; Rayan Castilo, actress; Kelsey Johnson, actress; Viviana Hita-Murilo, actress; Olivia Stewart, actress. Dancers provided in association with Dance Discovery Studios and not affiliated with ACU.
All in Love
With varied accents, a non-traditional setting and a vast number of puns, All in Love goes all in for love with a poker-themed romantic comedy.
Crew/cast: Josh Hervey, producer; Isabel Gallegos, director; Ky McLeod, writer; Caleb Myers, writer, actor; Ryan Chu, actor; Layla Rorem, actor.
Bible Stories, shot in one weekend, hopes to entertain FilmFest audiences and retell classic biblical stories in new and imaginative way. Screenwriter Lauren Ramsey called it “a reinvented Bible story with social media.”
The film reimagines three Bible stories: Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel and the Burning Bush.
Crew/cast: Kaylee Wilkins, director, actor; Judson Voss, producer, actor. Lauren Ramsey, writer, actor; Elizabeth Dzina, photographer, actor.
The Legend of Lake Fort Phantom
Rather than competing for an award at FilmFest, the crew of The Legend of Lake Fort Phantom simply wanted to create a story about an Abilene hotspot.
Crew/cast: Judson Voss, producer, sound, actor; Elizabeth Dzina, director, editor; Lauren Ramsey, screenwriter, actress; Kaylee Wilkins, cinematographer; Skylar Griffin, actor; Justin Keathly, actor; Madison Brothers, actress; John Funetes, actor; R.C. Summers, actor; Tebow Keathly, actor; Gwen Womack, makeup.
Two first-time directors created Ruby Letters to tell the story of a young man and the letters he has from his grandpa on how to overcome the struggles of a recent breakup.
Crew/cast: Brenna Raffels, producer, director, writer, cinematographer, editor, sound design; Holly Reichling, producer, graphic design, advertising; Adrian Martinez, camera operator; Ainsley Houghton, sound design; Lettie Jane Myers, production design; Henry, Ibane, actor; Warren Jackson, actor; Brandon Reeves, actor; Brianna Isham, actress; Ainsley Houghton, actress.