First ever film festival at ISU

Dalton Gackle

In a collaboration between the Film Producers Club and Cyclone Çinema, the first ever ISU 48-hour film festival will take place from 7-10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at Carver 101 on Iowa State campus.

“Cyclone Cinema is a very routine thing, and with this [festival], we can kind of break that routine,” said Cyclone Cinema co-director Hannah Nation.

The festival this year will contain five films submitted by students. Each filmmaker had the same prompt: they had to incorporate an umbrella and the phrase, ‘I can’t believe you were so blind,’ into a 2-10 minute film. The film had to be written, filmed and edited in 48 hours.

“It was a pretty open prompt, just as long as the object and line were obviously incorporated. They had to advance the story in some way,” said Kelley Werner, Film Producers Club event coordinator.

Werner said the idea came from the Des Moines 48-hour film festival as well as other major film festivals around the country.

“It’s gonna be like the Oscars with our MC’s and judges and prize categories,” said Destiny Luchtel, senior in event management.

Three faculty members and two celebrity judges will critique the films and pick the winners for Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Actor/Actress.

Olga Mesropova, the Film Producers Club faculty advisor and Russian film studies professor, Jeffrey Ames, broadcast journalism lecturer, and Justin Remes, ISU English professor, comprise the ISU faculty judges. 

The Iowa Nice guy, Scott Siepker, and Hollywood producer Stephanie Caleb, who co-produced the recent Jennifer Aniston film, Cake, round out the panel of celebrity judges. 

The whole festival came about as a way to get students who are interested in film to do something about it.

“The festival was something we wanted to use to reach out to the student body and involve Iowa State in film. There aren’t a lot of places for students to go,” Werner said. “There are aren’t many outlets for film here, so we are trying to give some of those opportunities.”

When Werner and others speak to student government annually, they have to prove that the Film Producers Club is worth the money.

“When we got funding from GSB, one of their inquiries was how will we serve the university?” Werner said.

The answer? There is no other creative place for students to get together and explore their passion for film.

“We are excited to offer something to people that was not there before,” Luchtel said. “Being able to bring this [festival] to people, to provide for a want and a need is what excites me about this event.”

With that said, the festival is brand new and can either bring the Film Producers Club into the spotlight or send it into the shadows.

“We didn’t have a ton of direction for it. There were a lot of unknowns, it being the first event,” Nation said.

Werner is optimistic that the festival will draw film-minded students from throughout the campus to participate in future events and perhaps join the club.

“I’m excited to bring all filmmakers and people interested in this together. It’ll be interesting to see how it grows from here.”

She is hoping that the event will showcase that anyone from any major can get involved in a film project — something that can be an interesting point on a résumé.

“Within our club there are engineers, kids from the theatre department, English majors and communications students,” Werner said. “There are designers who do set design and fashion or make-up people. Photographers get involved for composition and the technical side of shooting. Really, it’s for anyone.”

The festival is an advertisement for all students to get involved in future events and projects.

“This year is really to promote it and get it on its feet,” Luchtel said.

The 48-hour film festival will show the Film Producers Club and Cyclone Cinema how much interest there is in film on campus, with making films on the club side, and showcasing projects in an event on the Cyclone Cinema side.

The success of this first festival will have considerable weight when deciding if another will take place.

“It’s not set in stone to do it next semester, but it definitely can happen and we want it to,” Nation said.