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The Carletonian

CAMS Students and Alumni Accepted to Film Festival at Lawrence University

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Nine Carleton students and alumni in the Cinema and Media Studies department had their work accepted to this year’s Associated Colleges of the Midwest Film Conference and Festival, which took place at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin from April 20-22. Many of the current and former students were able to attend the festival to present their films, screenplays and papers.

The CAMS students and alumni who were accepted to the festival included Griffin Bolte ’18, Jonah Castañeda Barry ’16, Brendan Friesen ’18, Veronica Garcia ’16, Léa Gould ’19, Paul Kirk-Davidoff ’18, Peycen Ouyang ’18, Sarah Nazarino ’19 and Adam Wiener ’19.

Several Carleton students brought home awards from the festival. Peycen Ouyang’s film, “They’ll Be Gone Just in Time,” received the “Film Under Four” award for the best film shorter than four minutes. Adam Wiener received an honorable mention in the screenplay category, as did Paul Kirk-Davidoff in the paper presentation category.

The festival was focused entirely on student work, with students from Beloit College, Coe College, Colorado College, Grinnell College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Luther College, Macalester College and St. Olaf College also in attendance.

This was the second annual ACM Film Conference and Festival, with the first festival being held two years ago. Three Carleton students attended the festival in its first year, including Veronica Garcia, who now works as an Educational Associate in the CAMS department and was also in attendance this year. “We wanted more representation last time,” she said. “And so we just encouraged students a lot this year, kept reminding them throughout the year, you should submit to this.”

Much of the festival consisted of screenings of student films. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in question and answer sessions with the four judges, each of whom specialized in a different area of film. “The schedule was actually really packed and the programs were pretty dense,” said Peycen Ouyang. “But it was a great experience to talk to people from different colleges and universities. I think it’s pretty interesting to get to know other schools’ film programs.” Brendan Friesen also stressed the importance of meeting and interacting with fellow student filmmakers, saying that he enjoyed being able “to get to know what their stories were and what their relationship is with filmmaking, especially in the context of their college.”

Friesen added that going to the festival “opened my eyes to the potential of just making works that are outside my comfort zone.” After viewing several experimental films at the festival, he was inspired to do more exploration of experimental filmmaking in the future. “It just showed me the breadth of different things I could do. Even though it’s my senior year, I kind of feel like it’s a good jumping off point for new creative directions,” he said.

“I had never been to a festival before––it was my first time,” said Léa Gould. “It was a good road trip.”

Carleton students’ submissions represented a wide range of topics and forms. Peycen Ouyang’s short film focused on the books in the Gould Library, discussing the ideas of ephemerality and immortality. Brendan Friesen submitted his comps, a short fiction film about a girl’s strange experiences in her first days at college. Léa Gould described her film as an experimental narrative, inspired by an OCS program in Chile and Argentina, that incorporates archival footage to evoke the relationship between past and present in the two countries. Finally, Veronica Garcia’s screenplay featured three college-aged protagonists trying to maintain long-distance relationships through phone conversations.

Garcia described the festival as “a breath of fresh air reminding me of the big picture of learning about film and media.” While she wished that there had been more time to interact with students from other colleges, she appreciated the opportunity to see so many different types of student work.

Garcia said that while many students can at first be hesitant to submit their work to film festivals, she emphasized the students have a better chance of being accepted than they may believe, “if they just take a little chance of just submitting the video or the paper or the screenplay.”

“People are way more talented than they think,” she said. “I highly encourage students to submit.”

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