Short shorts on the big screen and everything in between highlighted at film showcase

By Peter Midwa, Photojournalist

Ryan Brumback

“Silence of the Karens,” directed by senior film and television major Riley Thorpe, is a short film about a young man who refuses to wear a mask when out in public during a global pandemic. Told with humor, the short film attempts to encourage anti-maskers to realize that any preconceived notion they may have about not wearing a mask, social distancing and quarantining could be incorrect.

This was one of many films shown at the first Short Shorts Showcase. The films at the showcase ranged from serious to comedic and everything in between, raising eyebrows or eliciting laughs from the audience.

The Cinema and Television Arts Department hosted the showcase at the Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., on Oct. 15. With more than 40 submissions from students in the program, 31 short films were selected for screening that night.

El Concepcion, a sophomore film and television major, directed the film “For Carlos” about the life of their father. In the film, their father is behind the camera in almost all the home footage. The film showed how much their father loved to take videos of family moments and how it was one way he could always be there with them.

“In a way, he inspired me to do film,” Concepcion said. “Seeing his story up there was all I could ask for.”

Concepcion is looking to submit their work to more Columbia film festivals so they don’t have to pay submission fees. They said submission fees on sites such as FilmFreeway can be expensive for a college student.

With the tagline “Come Together Columbia,” the Cinema and Television Arts Department put out a call for entries for student short films created in the past 18 months.

“It was great to have so many students, their families and friends in the theatre after being apart for so long,” said Sandy Cuprisin, the event organizer and administrative assistant in the department.

Jacob Hernandez, a freshman film and television major who attended the event, said he loved seeing other people’s experiences through beautifully shot films. He said it inspired him to see his peers’ work in an artistic form that was not only beautiful but also captured what life can really be.

“I felt capable of putting my work out there, too, which I think is great for motivation,” Hernandez said.

The films’ creative use of professional techniques caught the attention of the audience who were looking for new ways to appreciate artistic expression.

Emeer Hassanpour, a senior film and television directing major, said he appreciated the students’ effort to show off their professional craft.

Hassanpour said he submitted an experimental film to the Ann Arbor film festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which will be held in spring 2022. As an experimental filmmaker, he said that future students coming to Columbia have a great opportunity to show experimental films in events like the Short Shorts Showcase.

“Experimental cinema is different, and Columbia needs more of it,” Hassanpour said.