MU Film Production Club to host fourth annual Valentine's Day Film Fest

This year’s lineup includes short documentaries, comedies, heavier dramas and more experimental conceptual dramas.

The MU Film Production Club will host their Valentine’s Day Film Festival on Sunday, Feb. 15 in Jesse Wrench Auditorium in Memorial Union.

Doors for the event will open at noon; the event will start at 1 p.m., and will run until about 4 p.m.

The Film Fest began in 2011 as a festival dedicated to love-related films. This year, the festival is taking a wide range of submissions. The festival will consist of films created by students from MU and other surrounding colleges, such as Columbia College and Stephens College.

Film studies professor Brian Maurer is the faculty sponsor for the Film Production Club and said this year’s lineup covers genres such as short documentaries, comedies, heavier dramas and more experimental conceptual dramas.

Senior Rachael Ungashick is the president of the Film Production Club.

“We were going to have it be Valentine’s Day-themed, but we found that was very limiting to the students here,” Ungashick said.

The Festival will consist of a few hours of short films, each under 10 minutes apiece.

The films were chosen from a list of over 40 submissions. The selection process consisted of a viewing session in early February where every member present was given a score sheet to grade the films. Each film was rated on topics such as acting, writing, cinematography and other classic film criteria.

Senior Sam Roth, vice president of the club, said that the purpose of this method is to make sure the films kept the audience’s attention.

“(The film) has to get the audience engaged, so that’s what we are looking for,” Roth said. “Something that is exciting for us and that is interesting and makes us wonder things.”

A panel discussion with local filmmakers, production companies and film experts will be held between the screenings, and the festival will end with an awards ceremony.

The panel will include David Anderson and Kamau Bilal from Chimaeric, Sam Ott of Peace Frame Productions and local filmmaker Erin Heatherman.

By presenting such a panel, the festival becomes a place to not only celebrate film, but to foster careers, hone potential, and create a sense of community at MU, said sophomore Bess McCulloch.

“It’s good to talk to people who have been there,” McCulloch said. “We can learn from them and see what they’ve done and they can tell you what not to do, which is probably the most beneficial thing because there are a million ways in and even more ways out.”

Ungashick said she believes the future is “all about getting more refined.”

Along with hosting this festival, the Film Production Club is hoping to host an “April Fool’s Day 24-Hour Challenge,” during the first week of April. The festival will be centered on two-minute short comedy films. Competitors will be given a prompt and an object they must use and will have 48 hours to craft their film.

Roth said this event could be used to update the club’s equipment and get more and better resources for the future, so they can continue to make quality work.

McCulloch said she hopes attendees from MU and all of mid-Missouri to benefit from participating.

“We really just want to foster and celebrate creativity,” McCulloch said.

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