Independent Film Festival raises awareness of junior class activities

The junior class will be presenting the first annual Geneseo Independent Film Festival on Sunday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in the South Quad. An array of student submissions will be presented.

The festival, which is being co-sponsored by theater group Cothurnus, will present the film projects of a handful of students, and has been created by junior treasurer Kate Scholis and junior class president Adam Gross.

Of the student contributors, junior David French is contributing the most, entering more than four short pieces to the festival. Other student submissions are from junior Andrew Ho, freshman Andrew Ng, Philip Mogavero and others. In all, there will be about 12 short films being shown in the festival.

The films will mainly be comedies, according to Scholis and Gross, but there may be a meta-dramedy (in the case of French's "Loveland," originally performed as an Act-One performance in Fall 2005), and possibly some "roller-blading crash footage," said Scholis.

Along with Scholis and Gross, junior class advisor Tom Matthews has been working on putting the festival together.

Scholis first considered creating the film festival after hearing about a festival at SUNY Oswego. Upon finding that the junior class could acquire funding from the student association for their own film festival on campus, she decided to work with Gross to make it happen.

Scholis says that she wanted to create this festival to give students an outlet for their film creations. "This is a great way to get other students' feedback at this stage of their work," she said.

Gross, who worked with Scholis to procure the funding for the festival, initially had doubts. "I was skeptical at first. When we started this I didn't think we'd get a lot of submissions. We spoke to Tom though and he seemed pretty hopeful about the event," said Gross.

In the end, Gross feels that the festival will be a new benchmark for junior class campus contribution. "It's good for the junior class to let people know that there is actually an organization that represents the students, that gets a decent amount of money from SA every year. Every class is competing over a pool of SA money, and if a class can do something significant, SA will see that class is contributing to campus life. That's where the film festival comes in."

Gross is aware that the junior class faces limited campus awareness. "Difficulty exists in us being the junior class. No one is looking to us to make an event. [Activities Commission] has a publicity department, they get around $60,000 a year," he said. He relates that name recognition is an issue when putting together a festival or any event like this one. "This is why [the festival] is ground-breaking, especially if the junior class or Cothurnus does this next year," he said.

Scholis, for her part, wants to continue working on the festival next year when she is a senior. She hopes to present the film festival with Cothurnus. "I want to stay on the project," she said.

Gross, who was recently elected to director of business affairs for SA, will be keeping an eye on the project as well. "I'm going to be very busy next year, but I will support the project fully as a executive SA board member," said Gross.