By Donald Brown
4:10 PM EDT, May 8, 2012
The Connecticut Student Film Festival
Friday, May 11, , 4-8 p.m., free, Palace Theater, 100 East Main St., Waterbury, ctstudentfilms.org
The long-awaited Connecticut Student Film Festival will be held Friday, May 11 in the elegantly vintage Palace Theater in Waterbury. Billed as an "Oscar-like event," complete with red-carpet excitement, the festival brings together many young filmmakers from more than 30 participating schools from around the state.
The variety of film subjects is impressive. Public Service Announcement shorts address socially conscious topics like bullying, texting while driving, "pay it forward" practices, and food and blood drives; while documentary shorts feature educational and green practices, and even a piece on Wikileaks. Fictional shorts depict comic subjects — such as the challenge of making a film in 84 hours — as well as brief forays into film noir, thrillers, and ninjas; and animated shorts tend toward animated logos — the cutting-edge genre that every production company is in need of, it seems — while the Connecticut Career Choice films tend to be some of the more ambitious, involving storylines that would be at home on CSI, or a mini-romantic drama about a woman serving in the military, or a "trailer for an upcoming horror film" that takes its nervous style straight from The Blair Witch Project.
The students in the films are surprisingly unselfconscious, as though all are at home on digital screens and thoroughly familiar with the short-form capacities of music videos and movie trailers.
The festival will present all the nominees in various categories of Outstanding Shorts: News Report, History, Documentary, Fictional, Animated, and Middle School, as well as Outstanding Public Service Announcements. The winner in each category, chosen by industry professionals and college faculty, will be announced at the festival, which is free and open to the public. Bob Camp, a storyboard artist, and Paul Pfeffer, of Connecticut Public Television, will be among those on hand to give out the awards.
The Connecticut Career Choice Film Challenge, a special competitive category, is open to high schools and community colleges in fall and spring. Each participating school must produce, within 84 hours, a four-minute film that meets certain criteria provided at registration. The finalists will be presented at the CTSFF and the winner announced. A selection of films from the fall and spring challenges will compete in the Fictional Short Category as well. Many of the films are projects by students in the CCC courses in digital media and movie making and in 3D modeling and animation.
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