A College Class Projected Large: Southern Oregon University Student Film Festival
As simple as a sending a birthday card and as complex as journeying through a disturbing psyche, the work of Southern Oregon University’s film students is entertaining, compelling and thoughtful. And coming to the big screen.
The Southern Oregon University Student Film Festival will premier several films anywhere from a couple to 20 minutes made by students and SOU alumni on May 30 at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland—complete with an afterparty further celebrating the filmmakers’ hard work.
“The film festival is a way for students to showcase their work in a selective program and allow students and community members the opportunity to see what students are creating at SOU in the realm of film,” says Rebeccea Flora, SOU student and chair of the publicity team for the festival. The festival is put on and run by a film festival and communications class at SOU, where students learn the importance and responsibilities that go with running this type of event.
“The film festival class that puts on the fest gives students the experience of operating a film festival and teaches us the significance of [them],” she adds. “They are wonderful ways to bring a community together and showcase the art of film. They create discussion and open minds, at least the really good ones do.”
As much as the festival is educational for students interested in film and the film festival culture, it’s also a night of entertainment. SOU student and Event Planner of the festival Allison Eatmon says, “The goal of the festival is to show off the amazing films that students at SOU are passionate about sharing.” The theme for the event is old Hollywood, though the genres of films that will be shown are all across the board.
“Generally we have the first half of the fest be more family friendly,” says Flora, “whereas the second half may have some films that are less kid friendly. Some of the categories include: fictional narratives, documentaries, animation, and so on.”
With around 56 submissions this year––nearly a dozen more than last year, according to Flora––the selection process will accept around 20 to 25 films to show. “That is awesome, because then we have more of a selection to choose from,” Flora adds.
“Last year we were at full capacity in our Varsity Theatre,” Eatmon says. “I think that we will hit this mark again this year. My professor told us that each year the film festival gets better and better because we learn from our mistakes. We did a lot of recruiting and pushing people to submit their films. We did this so we could not only show off the talented students but to get a really well-rounded cast of films. It creates a really welcoming culture for filmmakers.”
Last year’s festival Audience Choice Award was Not a Bench, a cute romantic comedy directed by and starring Mig Windows. The Best Documentary Short was Ruggers directed by Michael Paul Bryant and Alison Hoffman. The short highlighted SOU women’s rugby team. Best Narrative Short was the endearing and creative film Birthday Card directed by Sea Liu, which followed the protagonist’s journey in writing a birthday card to her father overseas. Winner of the Jimmy Dix Award for performance by an ensemble was Endurance, a reflective and heart-pounding short of a man’s traumatic state.
Eatmon believes the success of this film festival is due in part to other film festivals in the area. “I think this is all due to the Ashland Independent Film Festival and the Klamath Falls Film Festival,” she says. “They have provided a very unique and close-knit experience to film festivals that you wouldn’t see at larger festivals. This also provides a way to make some close friends for filmmakers to network towards.”
Southern Oregon University Student Film Festival
6 pm, Tuesday, May 30
Varsity Theatre, 166 E Main St, Ashland
Festival, free. After party, $3–5