Apr 16, 2010 - Brandi Fleeks / Student Writer
In 1967 a group of students came together to bring worldly movies to Humboldt State, giving life to the Humboldt Film Festival. Now filmmakers from the across the globe vie for a top spot in the nation’s oldest student-run film festival.
From April 19 to 24, the event recognizes international, national and local short filmmakers— the types who don’t usually garner much attention from the mainstream industry. “It’s a one-of-a-kind festival.” says, co-director Meriah Miracle. “It’s really about screening and celebrating films. The festival always tries to focus on the story-telling because it’s really easy to get distracted by all the polished stuff.”
“We want to give a voice to the makers of the little films,” says co-director Michelle Dobosh. “The range of production from high-end special effects and cinematography to the low budget single camera films. Sometimes the low-budget stuff ends up being the most interesting.”
This year’s celebrity judges are Brian O’Halloran who is known for his role as Dante in the cult indie-film “Clerks,” Dr. Betsy A. McLane, former director of the International Documentary Association, and Rima Greer, a veteran film agent who’s sold such films as “Backdraft” “Milk Money” and “Highlander.”
The judges must make their selections from a crop of 35 films, winnowed down from 175 submissions. To qualify they must be short films under 30 minutes, and fall into one of four categories: experimental, documentary, animation or narrative. Every film is screened by students in the TFD 394, the festival’s prescreening class, and by the festival’s three co-directors. The students then select their favorites in each category to become candidates for the festival.
Awards are given for best experimental, best animation, best documentary, best narrative, people’s choice, and best of the fest. There are also three distinguished awards: The Ledo Matteoli Award for best immigrant story, the Romano Robertisini Banana Slug Award for surrealism, the Jim Demulling Speak Out Award and the Humboldt Pride Award for Queer Film.
“I think the People’s Choice Award is important because the viewers are the ones who decide who wins,” says Dobosh. “It’s not a bunch of film critics judging the films, it’s the audience, the people who enjoy them.”
For more information, visit the “Festival Homepage”: http://www.humboldt.edu/~filmfest/