CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 15, 2013 – “To Beat the Devil,” a short film focused on a young man who goes to extreme measures to lose weight is among the student-produced films entered in this year’s Fault-Line Film Festival at Southeast Missouri State University.
Producer Bryan Birks says filmmaking is his passion.
“I would love to get into camera work,” said Birks, a senior television/film major from Festus, Mo. “I don’t care what it is, just let me get ahold of a camera and film something.”
Birks has entered the festival every year since its inception.
“I always look forward to making something,” he said. “Every year I learn something else. The last couple of years, I have learned that there are a lot better storytellers out there than me. I think other filmmakers in Fault-Line know what the audience wants to see, and I’m still trying to get the hang of that.”
Winners of the 2013 Fault-Line Film Festival at Southeast will be announced at noon Nov. 20 at a ceremony in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus.
Dave Rutherford, a cinematographer with “House of Motion” in St. Louis, will be the keynote speaker at the awards ceremony.
“For a lot of students, this is kind of the highlight of their year – the capstone of their experience here,” said Dr. Fred Jones, professor of mass media at Southeast who teaches in the television/film option. “This gives students the chance to have their film seen on a big screen by a big audience. That reaction is hard to duplicate in any other kind of setting.”
Also among this year’s entries is “The Jar” by senior film major Ashley Toombs of Patton, Mo. The film tells the story of a young woman named Melanie who goes through an internal struggle with the contents of a jar she carries with her.
“I struggled at first to come up with a story, but then the idea of ‘The Jar’ came to me,” Toombs said. “It took me about two weeks to get the story written with all the scenes I thought it needed to complete the plot.”
Toombs’ fellow classmates serve as actors, actresses and crew members in her film.
“Working on these films emphasizes how important it really is to rely on one another. There are so many jobs and tasks that go into shooting even the smallest of projects,” she said. “It’s really hard to try and maintain it all yourself. Although it is often difficult to schedule around everyone’s availability, finding people who will take the time and make the effort to help complete the project is very important. The process of filming is so much more worthwhile when you can share it with people who are just as excited about it as you are.”
Toombs said she entered the festival because she’s a film major and, over time, she has gained confidence with the creative process of an independent short film.
“I really wanted to complete something that hopefully demonstrates my progress as a student and what I can do,” she said. “I really enjoy the whole creative process of coming up with a story, deciding how to shoot it and then editing it all together.”
Toombs said the Fault-Line Film Festival has been a learning experience for her.
“If it weren’t for the festival, I probably wouldn’t have made this film when I did. And if it weren’t for Professor Fred Jones, I surely wouldn’t have submitted it. I am unfortunately very good at doubting myself,” she said. “Upon my reluctance, Professor Jones said, ‘Do you want to make this film? Then do it.’ And I’m so glad he said that, because I did go out and make it. As with all projects, there are things I wish I would have done better or different, but completing this film felt good, and I’m eager to start a new one.”
Toombs says she enjoys independent filmmaking, and would like to write and direct larger independent films in her future.
“But at first, I’ll go wherever the job is, whatever the job is,” she said. “Right now, I would just like to make films and travel the planet – so the ‘go forth and see what happens’ approach is my main plan.”
More than 22 student films were entered during this year’s festival, and 12 have been chosen to be screened at a gala reception at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 in Rose Theatre. Faculty from the Departments of Mass Media, Theatre and Dance, Art, and Industrial and Engineering Technology judge the entries.
“You see students who really have the ability to tell a story, and they tell stories in very unique ways,” Jones said.
The gala is free and open to the public. Nine winning films and three other entries will be shown in their entirety. Some films may contain adult situations.
College students from across Missouri were invited to enter films less than 10 minutes in length in a variety of genres. Most students spend months developing their scripts and other pre-production elements. Filming usually takes several weeks, with the rest of the time being spent on post-production editing, underscoring, and other fine tuning, before submitting it for review by the panel of judges, according to Dr. Kenn Stilson, professor of theatre and dance.
The Fault-Line Film Festival, in its fourth year at Southeast, is an interdisciplinary partnership among the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts, the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Departments of Mass Media, Theatre and Dance, and Industrial and Engineering Technology.