Film students shine at festival

By Adel Johnson

On Nov. 19, the Take 1 Film Festival screened 10 short films of Production I and II students and awarded students from each class with a jury award and an audience choice award.

Film and Video Department festival coordinator Wenhwa Ts’ao said the submissions were final projects in last semester’s production classes, chosen through votes in each class section.

Freshman film major Chris Delsesto said that seeing the work of his peers definitely motivates him to do better with his films.

“You want to try a little harder and do a little better when you see your peers’ good work,” he said.

Delsesto, who attended the event after hearing about it in his Production I class, said seeing other peoples’ work and having others judge his work can be inspirational.

The event, which was held in the Film Row Cinema on the 8th floor of the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., showcased both the silent films of Production I and the sound films of Production II.

Following the screening in the at-capacity theater, Ts’ao held a Q&A with the directors, where they talked about their films while audience ballots were counted and tallied.

“I thought [the film] was a good story to tell, so I told it,” said Solomon Adekale, former Production II student, of his film, So, How Have You Been?

Adekale said his short film was an adaptation of a feature-length film he wants to make when he graduates.

Production II Audience Choice Award winner Daniel Wolf’s film, The Fortune Cookie Writer, was less planned out, but Delsesto said he voted for it because it was the most relatable.

Several of the directors talked about the costs of production, special effects and feeding their crew instead of paying them for their time.

“My project was basically funded by my mom,” said former Production II student Eddie O’Keefe.

O’Keefe’s film, American Folklore, was based on a book of stories given to him as a child. He said he wanted to explore the idea of young boys like himself at that age torn between the great stories of Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed and the familiarity and comfort of home. To save money, he said he cast his family in the film and used very few special effects.

Production I Audience Choice Award winner Adam Orton’s film, The Old Man’s Road, was about a dying man reliving the memories he had with his wife. Hansen said he thought it won the Audience Choice Award because it was not only a quality film, but a quality subject.

Orton said he spent around $200 to $300 on his film, but could have spent thousands. He said he scrimped on a lot of expenses because as a student, he doesn’t have a very large budget.

Silva’s film, Breathe, involved several locations, but he had to be creative, even turning a dorm room into a hospital.

Attendee Alex Hansen, a sophomore film major, said he likes the idea of going to a film festival with student filmmakers because he can identify more with them.

Hansen said he knows film is a competitive business. He said he was impressed by the creative expression and the initiative taken by the students.

“If you have unrelentless drive and passion, it puts you ahead of those who just have talent,” he said. “You can’t just sit back and hope to be the next Spielberg.”