Last year, at the University of Portland Student Film Festival, films ranged from a New York tourist showing off the city with the music of a subway cellist playing in the background, to a group of friends saying “cheers” so many times that it reached a point of absurdity, to a short documentary about an MMA fighter.
Not all of these student directors had fancy equipment or extensive filmmaking experience, proving that neither is required to make a film, according to Sven Shoultz, one of the festival organizers. Students of all skill levels will again have an opportunity to submit their creative work to the University of Portland Student Film Festival in April, hosted by On the Bluff Studios.
On the Bluff Studios is an on-campus organization that makes multimedia for academic use at UP, including videos, photography and graphic design. Sven Shoultz, senior marketing major and co-lead for On the Bluff Studios, explained that there used to be an on-campus film festival for students and professors a few years ago (not affiliated with On the Bluff Studios), but it was discontinued. He was inspired to organize a film festival last year to provide a venue for student filmmakers to express their passion.
“This is less of a festival and more of a forum for any person of any skill level to come show their work or their passion to a group of people that are going to be open-minded and accepting of all work,” Shoultz said. “It’s about having fun, making a film, whether it be with friends or on your own, and showing it off to the community.”
In the festival’s second year, there will be six categories: comedy narrative, comedy short, drama, animation, documentary and, new this year, Vine, where people can submit seven to ten-second clips. The festival has few requirements, besides a four-minute limit and nothing beyond PG-13 content.
Each video will be evaluated by a panel of three judges, consisting of two students and a professor. Last year, the panel was made up of only On the Bluff Studios employees, but the organizers have changed it this year to be more reflective of campus, Shoultz said.
The panel will choose the best film in each category as well as the overall best picture, best cinematography and best story. Judging criteria include videography, story line and “vibe,” or determining if the film fits well within its genre, according to Shoultz.
At the festival, the plan is to show all of the films, but that might change depending on the number of films submitted. Shoultz also said there will be post-commentary and a short discussion after each film shown. The event is open to the public, and students are encouraged to attend even if they don’t submit a film.
“We don’t have a major curriculum for film, so this is one of the only times on campus you get to experience this community, and you might even meet people that you didn’t know on campus that are also interested in film,” Shoultz said. “The biggest point of this is to meet new people and to understand that even if you don’t feel like it, there is a film community on campus.”
The submission deadline is April 7 at 11:59 p.m. and students can submit their films using this form. The Film Festival will take place on April 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Franz 120.
Dora Totoian is a senior reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.