It’s no secret East Lansing is a hot bed for films. And there also happens to be quite a few students in the area as well, for reasons I don’t need to divulge to you. Combining the two makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Behold – the Student Film Festival, coming to a campus theatre near you this weekend.
[film1] “The festival is an opportunity for MSU student filmmakers to display their work to audiences at the Campus Centre Cinemas,” James Henderson, Director of Campus Center, said. “The film festival has expanded this year with close to 30 films being shown. There will also be expanding incentives for entry this year.”
In its second year, the festival has undergone many changes. One major change is an increase in the number of winners awarded prizes at a ceremony next Tuesday at the Union. As a result, audience members won’t be pressured to pick just one film. “Last year there was one overall prize based on audience balloting; this year there will be six awards. We’re giving out two awards in each of three categories, one determined by audiences and one determined by a panel we have put together,” Henderson said.
Three directors vying for the top prizes are no rookies to the festival. Business senior Greg Kindra, chemical engineering senior Dave Shibley and telecommunications senior Dave Cain will be following up last year’s prize-winning short film, Pumpkin Girl Love, with their new film, Kill Dill.
[film2] Inspiration for the films the trio make comes from a variety of sources, but most of their ideas stem from just hanging out and having fun. “The movies are just something we decided to do for fun,” Shibley said. “We’ll just be sitting around and someone will say, ‘Hey, you know what would be funny…’”
Although making the films is done mostly for fun, two of the directors do have film aspirations that reach beyond MSU and Campus Cinemas. “I’ve been making movies for a couple years, and I would love to make movies for a living,” Kindra said. While Kindra, the only human actor in Kill Dill, focuses mainly on screenwriting, Cain aspires to direct. But they aren’t looking to make the next Oscar winner, yet.
“Last year’s film was made because we had a camera and some free time and there wasn’t much planning involved,” Shibley said. This year, however, the three directors put more planning and thought into the project beforehand. “This year, I came up with the idea for the film while we were watching Kill Bill and we bounced the idea around for a couple of months before we started filming,” Shibley said.
Kill Dill is a spoof of the popular 2003 action film and follows the main character’s quest to seek revenge on a group of violent vegetables, according to Shibley.
[film3] The differences between last year’s festival winner and this year’s hopeful are noticeable. “Last year,” Shibley said, “we went outside with a camera and a pumpkin, and really just set out to make Greg do some weird things.” This year, things were more planned out. There were storyboards laid out before any filming began, Shibley said. “This year’s film will have a higher quality than last year’s as it was shot with a better camera and edited with better software,” Shibley said, “[though] we still make Greg do some fairly embarrassing things.”
Regardless of the humiliation he might endure, Kindra is looking forward to the event. “I think it should be great fun and encourage all students to come check it out,” Kindra said.
The Student Film Festival runs from April 15-17. Films are free to all undergraduate residence hall students with an ID. Showtimes are: Friday from 7 – 9:15 p.m., Saturday from 4 – 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Sunday from 4 – 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Check out www.uabevents.com for complete movie descriptions and times.

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