FTT hosts 27th annual student film festival
Selena Ponio | Friday, January 29, 2016
Every year, the Notre Dame Student Film Festival gives students the opportunity to showcase their creativity through the big screen. This year’s festival, which will be held at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center this weekend, features 11 short films directed and produced by undergraduates, and culminates with an audience choice award that will be presented after the Sunday night screening.
Junior Liza Connor is one of the students whose film was chosen to screen at the festival. She said her film, “Ambiguous Encounter,” was a result of an entire semester’s worth of work and time.
“When we found out that we made the film festival we were so excited,” Connor said. “We had to develop our idea quickly, but it kind of came together really nicely.”
Ted Mandell, an associate professorial specialist in the department of film, television and theatre (FTT), said that he has been involved with the film festival every year since its inception.
“This is the 27th time I’ve done this, so like anything you do for 27 times, you kind of have a process in place that you’re comfortable with,” he said in an email. “My main focus is putting together the flow of the show from film to film, balancing sound, other technical things. It takes a lot less time today than it did back in 1990.”
Mandell said the process of choosing films to show at the festival can be difficult due to an abundance of qualified films.
“We look at all the films produced in our FTT film production courses over the past year and try and choose the ones which are both creative and technically accomplished. … and we stop when we get to two hours,” Mandell said. “Certainly other films are worthy, but for a public screening I try and keep it in that two-hour total run time.”
Connor said the films at the festival are relatable and packed with creativity and passion. She said she thinks when someone is so passionate about something it makes it more fun to watch, which is exactly why she believes the Notre Dame community will enjoy the film festival.
“It’s exciting to see everyone so pumped up and proud of each other,” Connor said. “It’s a small kind of niche of us … and it’s fun to see everyone succeeding.”
Mandell said he believes students should go for the same reason they go to any other movie in the theaters.
“You want to be entertained. You want to be touched emotionally either through laughter, or fear, or provocation, or any other emotional connection that you make with a film,” he said. “It’s no different with the student film fest … and there’s that added element that you just might recognize the star of the film from your dorm.”
Mandell said the arts are essential to life and he hopes the student film festival induces an “emotional change and urge to discuss what you’ve just seen with someone else.”
“Ask yourself how much visual storytelling you’ve consumed today,” he said. “I tell my students they’ve been studying for our film production courses for the first 17 years of their lives. They just didn’t know it.”