By Matt Hume, September 12 2017 —
NUTV — the University of Calgary’s on-campus television station — will light up the big screen with student talent later this week. On Sept. 14, NUTV will host its first annual Student Film Festival at the Globe Cinema, showcasing the best student-made short films in Alberta.
NUTV began as a student club on campus in 1984 and has since grown into a society for fostering the development of visual media skills. The station has previously hosted the 48-Hour Greenlite project, where students created a short film within a two-day period.
“You can only make a certain quality of film in 48 hours,” says NUTV executive director Cameron Macgowan. “I always thought it would be better to give people who are interested in making movies a chance to make better movies.”
This summer, NUTV launched a summer film school program to help six students develop their filmmaking skills through an intensive four-month program. They each produced their own short films.
“We wanted to showcase these six films that were made through our student film school, but we also thought it would be a great chance to connect student filmmakers around Alberta,” Macgowan says. “So we had a call for submissions to anyone in a post-secondary institution to submit their short film.”
Fifteen short films will screen at the festival, including films by students at the U of C, the University of Alberta, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Alberta College of Art + Design. Each student will have the opportunity to hold a Q&A at the end of their screening.
The festival also has a competitive edge, as students will compete for first-place and runner-up prizes.
“They’re all prizes that’ll help people see more movies, learn more about films or make their next one,” Macgowan says.
The Student Film Festival is also an opportunity to get a head start on the big festival circuit. The Legend of the Bunny Phantom, directed by recent U of C film graduate Simon Chan, will screen at the Student Film Festival as well as the Calgary International Film Fest at the end of the month.
However, accolades and recognition are not the main purposes of the festival.
“There’s a lot of film festivals that more experienced short filmmakers can submit to, but a lot of students get lost in that noise because it’s a lot of their first films and it’s easy to get discouraged at that age,” Macgowan says. “I just wanted to help have a venue for people who are kind of insecure about having their first film screened and let them know, ‘No don’t worry! It’s all students! It’s all most people’s first movie!’ ”
NUTV plans to put out a call for submissions every August and will continue accepting students for their film school every summer.
While the Student Film Festival is sure to provide great entertainment for the viewers, Macgowan is thrilled by the potential experience for the participants.
“I’m really excited for them to see their work and celebrate their achievements with each other, to see that their work has just as much merit as other students, encourage them to keep doing it and to do it with the other people that they’re going to meet at the film festival,” he says.
The NUTV Student Film Festival will begin at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14 at the Globe Cinema. Tickets to the free event can be reserved by following a link on the NUTV Facebook page, but walk-up admission will be available at the theatre.