Arts & Entertainment, Features

COM StuGov’s short film festival highlights students work

Lights, camera, action: Boston University students showcased their work on the silver screen Dec. 1 at the Short Film Festival hosted by the College of Communication Student Government at Tsai Performance Center.

One of the event’s coordinators, Brady Willis, said the event was “a minor version of a big film festival” intended to give students a platform to share their films and display a tangible example of what COM students can create.

short film festival
The audience at the Short Film Festival hosted by the College of Communication Student Government on Dec 1. The festival at Tsai Performance Center gave students a platform to share their films. DOROTHY DU/DFP STAFF

“A big part of filmmaking that people don’t necessarily think about is the step after making it…showing people what you’ve made,” said Willis, a freshman in the College of Communication, in an interview. “I think a lot of people were eager to jump on that opportunity.”

Arin Gökdemir, another event coordinator and COM StuGov’s Film & Television department representative, along with Willis, said during the event’s opening remarks that the two aimed to dispel the myth that COM students don’t do any work.

The festival showcased seven films from BU students including “Premeditated” by Elle Misko, “Down the Drain” by Shayna Smith, “Herb” by Lynn Asare-Bediako, “Dear Future Sam” by Brianna Altman, “Chronic” by Maggie Borgen, “Doctor’s Orders” by Aaron Newman and “Redemption Day” by Ida Baybekman. Before each screening, student filmmakers spoke about the production and inspiration behind their films.

The event offered students the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other creators, Gökdemir said in an interview.

“We just really wanted to get people in a room and celebrate student filmmaking, and show their work and network a little bit,” said Gökdemir, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

short film festival
One of the short films screened was “Redemption Day” by Ida Baybekman. Six other short films were screened. DOROTHY DU/DFP STAFF

It wasn’t always supposed to be a film festival — their idea originated as a networking event, Gökdemir said. When they gained access to Tsai Performance Center to host their event, he said, they realized they could expand it to include a film screening, complete with a live jazz band.

One of the challenges, Willis said, was finding students to submit short films who were hesitant to showcase work created for a class. Many of the premiering films were made by students for film production classes, he said.

To get more film submissions, Willis said he and Gökdemir reached out to Delta Kappa Alpha, the professional film fraternity of which Willis is a member, and RedList, BU’s independent short film club of which Gökdemir is the president.

Shayna Smith, a junior in the College of Communication, submitted her short film “Down the Drain” about a man who wins the lottery and explores the paranoia and pressure of wealth that follow. Smith said she was excited to see the film, which she created for her Production 1 class, on the big screen.

“It’s really cool to see the different things that all sorts of student filmmakers can do with what we’re given,” Smith said in an interview. “Obviously we’re still learning, but I think it’s really incredible to showcase work that’s not done at an industry professional level.”

The festival’s focus on student work made it a unique experience different from the forums and panels that COM StuGov usually plans, Willis said.

“For the student body overall, it’s always good to have something that can enrich what we have as a culture,” said Willis.

Gökdemir said he hopes that the festival instilled “an appreciation for how much goes into the filmmaking process, especially for new students.”

Abby Carella, a freshman in College of Communication, said the festival “gives students a platform that they might not have otherwise,” and expressed that she learned a lot.

With more events like the Short Film Festival in the future for COM StuGov, Willis said he hopes they can demonstrate the many opportunities students have to get involved in film and “encourage all the film majors to go out there and make something.”

“Everything that we work towards in student government is just on making everyone feel a stronger connection to one another without the bounds of major or year,” he said.

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