Lovers of movies and filmmaking rejoice! It will soon be time for the fifth annual Seattle University Film Festival (SUFF), an event that showcases films from Seattle U students who are passionate about filmmaking. As the film studies program has grown, so has the festival as more and more students become interested in filmmaking and the festival itself. On April 28, students can enjoy works that have been lovingly crafted by fellow classmates and friends in the Pigott Auditorium—but don’t expect any feature-length films.
Hosted by Student Events and Activities Council (SEAC) and sponsored by the Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival (STIFF) and the Northwest Film Forum, this year’s SUFF looks to be the biggest yet. With over 175 attendees at last year’s event, SEAC is employing new rules that constrain the run time of the films submitted.
According to Hannah Rhodes, the Vice President of Marketing at SEAC, each film submitted can be no longer than six minutes long.
“Different to previous years, we are focusing on the length and qualities of the film,” Rhodes said. “We are not disqualifying anyone for their artistic taste, but we are limiting the time to six minutes. We are also making the event less focused on the prizes and more about the community and talent that extends from Seattle U.”
Students watch with curiosity at the films at the 2015 Seattle University Film Festival.
The changes to the length of films accepted might allow for more films to be seen, but for students like senior film studies major Aniello De Angelis, it means cutting out critical scenes.
“There’s a big problem with it only being six minutes. I think that it’s going to lead certain projects to feel more like music videos,” De Angelis said. “I understand that some short films work like that, but I think it’s hard to create a narrative without it being way too much of a montage or a music video.”
De Angelis thinks the length should be extended to 15 minutes, which would allow for longer, more diverse pieces.
“I feel like the majority of the people who are invested in this, or are doing the film program, have sat in rooms for probably eight hours before watching films just for fun. I think that to support their peers, they wouldn’t mind doing that at all,” De Angelis said.
This sentiment is shared by junior film studies major Anna Block Gallegos, who has worked on three films that have been submitted to
“I’m not sure the one I co-directed is even going to get in because it’s 11 minutes, but we were told to submit it anyway,” Block Gallegos said. “I guess it’s going to be decided based on how many other entries there are.”
The film in question is called “Lost Perception,” a movie Block Gallegos made with classmate Daniel Schiff for an independent study course.
Along with the opportunity to have their work showcased in front of their peers and classmates, the first place winner will be automatically entered into the STIFF, another film festival held later this year.
Nevertheless, both De Angelis and Block Gallegos are excited to just show off the films they’ve worked hard on. One of De Angelis’ films, “New York City 2046,” is a film that he and his co-director Devin Allen created simply to make the audience feel weird.
“We wanted some very jarring things, but also as sort of a ‘cine-poem.’ It’s really two films because there’s a film within it,” De Angelis said. “So we wanted to investigate where images come from as well as the relationship between time and love, both as illusions.”
Moving forward, Block Gallegos thinks that the festival could make some changes by expanding to more than just one night of the week.
“I think if we could make it bigger, it could be really fun and I think that would allow more people to come and be involved in it,” Block Gallegos said.
De Angelis went one step further and suggested that the event be held over an entire week—much like a real film festival—to allow some actual feature-length films to be shown. He also believes that this year will be transformative for the festival as a whole.
Head to Pigott Auditorium on Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m. to see the early works of some groundbreaking filmmakers.
Scott may be reached at [email protected]