AUP Student Film Festival
By Nicole Sweeney / 2012-05-01
On May 3rd the Grand Salon in AUP’s Bosquet building filled with excited students, professors, alumni, and film professionals. After many months of hard work, and in some cases the entire academic year, the annual AUP Student Film Festival arrived.
Professor Nathalie Debroise of AUP’s Film Studies Department notes that, “This is the day for film students.” She adds that the event, which occurs each May, features not only film studies majors, but also communications students and other independent projects, incorporating the entire AUP community.
Each year the festival hosts anywhere from twelve to twenty films, depending largely on the number of submissions it receives. The films tend to be quite short, each averaging only a few minutes in length. Submissions to the festival are thematically and structurally diverse, including fictional pieces, documentaries, and experimental films.
While the festival aims to involve the entire community, it has been an important space for the Department of Film Studies, which is only a few years old. The festival predates the creation of the department, having been primarily an event for communications students. After the department was created, there was a push by faculty and students to not simply study film, but to create it as well. “We insisted on a focus on producing films to be able to share with peers and professors,” Nathalie says. The festival has been a critical part of building and maintaining the film studies community. “We have a really good network. We’re a small department that attracts students really well and it’s easy for us to keep close relationships with our alumni.”
Creating the Film Studies Department was a collaborative effort between students and faculty. Film courses used to be dispersed and there was “demand from students to be recognized in their own space, as film students. It was quite incredible to have them all be a part of the birth of the department like that. Students got involved and that’s the spirit we try to keep. We try to build it together,” says Nathalie. The festival comes together in a similar spirit; students are encouraged to play an active role in its organization and promotion, offering input and designing posters.
The festival incorporates the work of alumni and, on occasion, the work of students from other universities. Nathalie says that this is important because, “It can be a great opportunity to connect with other universities. Networking is one of the most important things for a filmmaker.” Building contacts can help with everything from assistance with casting to finding someone willing to show up last minute as a boom operator.
Events like this are valuable recruitment tools for both the department and the University, showcasing AUP’s talent and network. In addition to AUP students, faculty, and alumni, professionals in the film industry ranging from filmmakers to film critics also attend the event. The informal setting and buffet which follows enables the event to be an excellent networking opportunity for AUP’s burgeoning filmmakers.
The Student Film Festival is just one of many ways that AUP is able to facilitate connections beyond the university. Benefits to attendees aside, the event’s real strength is the dedication of its participants. Nathalie adds, “Oh yes, it has been a very successful event -- the students have a lot of enthusiasm for what they do.”
Didn't get to attend the film festival? We have included a few films below to give you a taste of what was shown.
By Joanne Rakotoarisoa
LAMBCHOP - Gone Tomorrow
By Alumnus Zack Spiger '07
Clowning Hopelessly Fine
By Larissa Borges
By Nathalie Debroise
Edited by Larissa Borges