Friday, May 9, 2014

Cameras Roll at UNO Festival

What are you doing this weekend? The University of New Orleans Film Festival is showing nearly 70 short films developed, directed and produced by UNO students, alumni and friends from universities across the country.

Join Us!

To learn more about the 8th Annual Film Festival and when credits roll, visit the UNO Film Fest website.

The fun runs Thursday through Sunday, May 9-11 in the Robert E. Nims Theatre on the Lakefront Campus, where the 8th Annual UNO Film Fest will showcase the best films from students and up-and-coming independent filmmakers on the University's state-of-the-art 4K projector in the recently renovated theatre for a top audience experience. The annual film festival is designed to allow students an opportunity to showcase their work in a juried competition, learn more about trends and issues in film and celebrate accomplishments among peers and industry experts.

"It showcases a lot of what's going on in the film department," said Jonathan Kieran, president of the Film Festival and a senior in the University's acclaimed film program. "It allows people to see what we're doing."

The theater end of the UNO Film and Theatre Department puts on shows six times a year and brings in campus residents and outside people to see their work throughout the semester, while their counterparts are on set filming or closed up in editing rooms and post-production, he said. This is an opportunity for the film department to reconnect with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public.

"It's a time when we can all get together and see what we've all been doing," said Kieran.

The student-run festival is organized by a committee of undergraduate and graduate students, who start their work each January and spend four months planning and reviewing films, said Kieran. Professors serve as advisers, especially on the technical side.

This year's festival saw a whopping 30 percent increase in submissions, including submissions from students at universities as far away as College of the Canyons and as nearby as University of North Alabama.

"I think it's a testament to the amount of films being increased in the department," he said. "We've started trying to reach out to schools in the region, getting films from other schools, so many film schools in the region and we've got such a resource here in New Orleans. I also think that there are an increasing number of film alumni who like coming back to the festival and sharing their work at the festival."

The festival began last night with Alumni Night, with showings of two short films by UNO alumni: "Out of True" by Andrew Bryan and "Blam!" by Chris Givens. Films continue all weekend through Sunday, when awards will be granted.

Top prizes will go to Best Overall Film, an award known as "Best of the Fest" and Best Directing.

"We have about 12 to 15 sponsors, most of whom are in the industry in Hollywood South," said Kieran, underscoring the opportunities that such sponsors allow students and young alumni with their gifts. "We're really, really lucky to have a lot of partners out in the community. That's one of the more gratifying things to us, that they are willing to kind of kick in something of value to us."

Sponsors have generously contributed coveted prizes, Kieran said. FotoKem, a post-production company used by makers of major feature films in Hollywood South has contributed use of their facility and lab, a prize valued at $1,000.

A company called 4:4:4 Camera, a rental house in New Orleans that rents out camera equipment to major feature filmmakers has donated a camera rental package worth about $4,000.

Arri, a renowned German camera-maker has donated a state-of-the-art camera known among filmmakers as the "Alexa." The camera is considered the industry standard in feature films and has been used to make The Avengers and hundreds of feature films, said Kieran.

Another 12 to 15 sponsors have donated awards, including software packages, in addition to those marquis prizes. Winners will be announced next week.


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