February 9, 2010
For those looking for an alternative to the usual mid-February Valentine’s Day celebrations, fear not. There is another activity on campus to provide entertainment. The third annual Global Film Festival at the College of William and Mary runs from Feb. 18 to 21 this year. While still a relatively new event, the festival is quickly becoming an interesting and exciting opportunity for those students interested in film.
“It captured my attention as a film studies major,” Caitlin Clements ’11 said. “I took professor [Timothy] Barnard’s Intro. to American Studies course, which was a plug into the film festival. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Clements, an assistant coordinator for this year’s festival, has had the unique opportunity of working on the program since its inception.
“It’s very exciting to see how the festival has evolved over the last three years,” she said.
This year the event’s organizers have introduced several new events to further encourage student interest. For the first time, the 24 Speed 2010 Filmmaking Contest is collaborating with the global film festival.
“The idea was to take different independent filmmaking efforts and find a way to showcase them,” professor Sharon Zuber, director of the competition, said. “There’s a precedent for contests to be associated with film festivals, so it just made sense.”
The film contest, which started six years ago, gives teams of five filmmakers 24 hours to make a short film incorporating a given line of dialogue and a prop, offering a choice between two genres. This year, the contest will run from Feb. 12 to 13, and the finished products will be screened on Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.
In the past, the screening has taken place on the day after the contest.
“Screening the film later is good,” Adam Stackhouse ’04 M.A. ’10 said. “It gives [the filmmakers] some time to sleep so that they’re not angsty.”
Aside from the competition, there are a number of other contests taking place as part of the festival this year. Participants can create a music video for the band NiCad — which visited the College last semester — or viewers can create an original movie score for film clips from one of the films being screened as part of a contest. There is also a documentary project option to showcase the different types of music performed on campus. With so many projects culminating during the film festival, the students involved have been working for months.
“It’s been really busy and confusing,” Rachel Ohm ’10, an intern responsible for media relations, said. “Everyone is involved in different committees, and there is so much to do, but the payoff is so fun.”
Ohm said she is excited about the festival, but also values the experience planning it has provided. Among other responsibilities, Ohm was accountable for writing the press release for the festival this year.
“This has been very interesting,” Ohm said. “I’m an English major, and this has forced me to use different skills, very practical life skills.”
The various internships are important positions for the festival. Not only have they worked constantly behind the scenes, but they have also helped dictate on the festival’s direction.
“Intern opinions really helped shape the festival,” Clements said. “We had one intern suggest the film ‘Heima,’ which is a documentary about the band Sigur Ros, just because he likes the music. Lots of people hadn’t even heard of it. Well, now we’re bringing in the director [Dean DeBlois]. He’s actually in the middle of production on another movie, ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ and he’s leaving Skywalker Ranch and catching a red-eye to introduce the film because he was so touched that we wanted to screen it.”
Ideas from this year’s interns helped inspire guerilla marketing styles, silent film screenings and a kazoo play-along to a surprise children’s cartoon. The diversity of choices is no accident.
“We hope to bring the festival to a point where it’s well known,” Clements said. “It would be wonderful if at some point alums just know that spring is the time to be back in Williamsburg at the Kimball [Theatre].”
The festival begins on Feb. 18 and runs through the entire weekend. For a full list of events, visit globalfilm2010.blogs.wm.edu.
Rachel Ohm is a contributing writer to The Flat Hat.