The making of a film festival

Film Society gives student hands-on experience hosting event from start to finish

| Author: Emily Stulz

Created in 2002, the registered student organization Film Society formed to promote diversity; create an educational environment; and raise cultural awareness through the study, viewing and production of motion pictures.

In simpler terms?

"We learn, create and appreciate films," said Breeann La Tourneau, a broadcast and cinematic arts student from Bay City, Michigan.

Creating an international film festival

The most intensive way that members achieve these goals is through the society's annual Central Michigan International Film Festival.

Now in its 16th year, the festival brings international and independent films to the campus and local community.

For members, volunteering during the festival leads to honing speaking skills in front of crowds, working with sponsors and learning how to use the projection equipment.

"Everyone in Film Society is learning in one way or another," said Richard Tran, group president and broadcast and cinematic arts major from Wyoming, Michigan.

Building his skills helped Tran land an internship with the Traverse City Film Festival in 2018.

Logan Jones, a broadcast and cinematic arts major from Reed City, Michigan, is in her third year working with the Central Michigan festival — this year as chair.

"It's given me a lot of communication skills and a lot of networking skills," Jones said. "It's given me opportunities to learn, so I can go into the field with a little more knowledge."

Students become teachers

Aside from the festival, students become teachers as they help guide one another through the cinematic process. From scriptwriting to filming, editing and critiquing, members of the Film Society are able to experience it all.

"It's very powerful to be able to share knowledge with your peers," Tran said.

In this environment, members find themselves more open to trying new things.

"I used to hate writing," said Logan Jones, a broadcast and cinematic arts major from Reed City, Michigan. "I didn't want to do audio or the technical stuff, but through Film Society I've had the chance to explore those things."

Bringing culture to the community

The 16th Central Michigan International Film Festival takes place Feb. 13-17, showing 24 movies in three locations. It also will host the world premiere of two faculty-created films:

  • Art faculty member David Stairs' documentary, "Digging the Suez Canal with a Teaspoon," will premiere at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, in Moore Hall 102. The documentary is an investigation of what has become known as "social design space."
  • "Breaking the Sound Barrier," a documentary produced by broadcast faculty Patty Williamson and Eric Limerenko, will premiere at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, in Moore Hall 102. The film looks at women's success and struggles working in the male-dominated radio industry.
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