University film festival awards students
Ellis McGinley – Copy Editor
SCSU TV, the university’s student video production organization, hosted their 13th annual film festival on April 22 in the Adanti Ballroom.
“Originally it was going to be an all-online event, but thanks to the guidelines put in place by the institution, we’re able to have the event in-person with a max capacity of 25. Tonight, we’re showcasing films from students from all different kinds of categories, from documentary, narrative, avant-garde,” communications major Zachary Rockman, a senior, said.
SCUFF, or the Southern Connecticut University Film Festival, is open to submissions from any student within any major. Currently, it appears most submissions come from students within the Film, Television and Digital Production concentration within the communications major, as well as journalism.
The films are shown by category, with each category’s winners receiving a “50-dollar Visa gift card,” according to Rockman, and 100 dollars for the “Best in Show” winner. Submissions could not exceed ten minutes, had to abide by the film standards set by the Motion Picture Association of America and could not exceed an R rating.
The first film shown that evening was the “Spoiler Spectre,” by Jonathan Meyers, a communications major. Written, directed and narrated by Meyers, it told the story of a ghost haunting university students via telling them spoilers for films and even real life.
“After multiple complaints, SCSU hired the only paranormal investigator they could afford: Bigfoot hunter and cryptozoologist Johnny B. Boomerang,” the narrator tells the audience, over footage of a man dressed similarly to Steve Irwin dramatically swinging a boomerang in front of Buley.
The film received multiple laughs from the audience. Other submissions included a documentary by theater major Sebastion Cordero, a sophomore about online reality games, where participants can simulate reality TV games like “Survivor” or “Big Brother” over virtual platforms.
Other documentaries included a day in the life of a local New Haven artist, a visual tour of state parks along the Connecticut shoreline, and a series of clips of friends practicing skateboarding. Emmanuel Soares submitted his short documentary, which shared a behind-the-scenes look into the creation of “Pippin,” the university’s 2019 musical.
He interviewed both students and faculty and put together footage from rehearsals and opening nights to follow the creation process of the show.
“I actually submitted one of my work projects from this last year. I’m a freelance visual effects artist for DJs and artists,” communications major Jonas Shivers, a junior, said. “Since COVID we’ve moved to online formats, so I submitted a section from one of my past shows I just called it Bending Realities.”
The theme for the event was “Retro-Futures.” A red carpet where streamers welcomed guests, who were given glow sticks, and stars and rocket ship decals adorned the walls. Balloons which looked like aliens also filled some of the empty seats, and the front table featured a small spaceman and various other galactic decor.
Guests were given free t-shirts with UFOs on the front and the SCUFF logo on the back. In previous years, the event also provided “free food,” according to Owl Connect, but COVID-19 restrictions prevented this. The event included a panel of judges who reviewed each film.
Winners from each “slate,” or category, have not yet been posted on the SCSU TV media, but students may keep an eye on Instagram and YouTube for updates.
“We actually have a surprising turn-out, for it being COVID,” Rockman said. “Next year, I’m hoping – I won’t be here next year -but I’m hoping the climate is a little bit more normal. I’m hoping that people know about it for next year.”