Winners from last November’s UM Cinema Competition will make their debut on the big screen at the UM Cinema Festival at 7 p.m. today and tomorrow in the Overby Center.
In order to be featured in the festival, filmmakers were asked to submit a film classified under the categories of narrative, experimental, documentary, musical theater or dance. There were 15 films entered in the festival, and winners are expected to be announced at the end of the week. Winning filmmakers will receive prizes as high as $500.
Alan Arrivée is a professor of cinema at the university and has been in charge of the festival since it began six years ago. For him, the festival is an opportunity for filmmakers to get real audience reactions to their pieces.
“The most useful part of the little festival is the interaction between audience and filmmakers,” Arrivée said. “The message of the filmmaker might not be received as they thought it would be, so the kind of feedback they will get is what I’m looking forward to most.”
The festival originally began as “An Evening of Cinema,” a one-night event at Meek Hall in which theater minors could debut their finished projects. Since then, it has evolved to include faculty submissions and, for the first time, alumni contestants, as well as students.
Arrivée said he believes the festival will continue to grow, especially with the anticipated addition of a cinema major in the next couple of years.
“The quality of production will increase because we will have a greater variety of programs available and a wider variety in the lineup,” Arrivée said. “Over the years, it has transformed into something more than just student-produced films.”
According to Arrivée, one of the most important aspects of the UM Cinema Festival is the freedom filmmakers have to express themselves without the constraints of demographic research, which is something that is often overlooked in blockbuster cinema.
“We don’t have the production value of the latest superhero movie, but as far as originality goes, we may have the edge,” Arrivée said.
Montana Byrd, a senior minoring in cinema, said she is excited to see the new talent the festival will debut.
“I’m excited for the UM Cinema Festival this year,” Byrd said. “I’ve been going since my freshman year, and every year, the films get better and better, and I think it really reflects on how the cinema program has grown and continues to grow.”
Taylor Treece is a senior at the university who was recognized in the 2016 UM Film Festival in the narrative category for his film “How to Get Dressed.” This year, he entered an experimental film for consideration. Treece said that while the festival is important for him personally, he doesn’t necessarily believe it’s important for all students to attend.
“It’s important to me because completing a project of any kind is always satisfying, and it just so happens that I’m interested in making movies, so these are the projects I partake in,” he said. “I don’t think it’s too important for people to attend. The only reason I believe they should attend is if they want to support the university’s cinema program and to experience what students and the community have to offer. If that’s not something they care about, then I don’t think it’s important for them to go. But I do believe that going to anything of this nature always helps you grow as an individual.”
Hannah Glass, a junior at Ole Miss and an Oxford Film Festival volunteer, said she is looking forward to attending the UM Cinema Festival for the first time.
“Because of my experience with the Oxford Film Fest, I’m looking forward to seeing what Ole Miss students can create,” Glass said.
The film festival is free for theater majors and cinema minors, but all other attendees must purchase the tickets at the box office. The tickets cost $12.50 for adults, $9 for students and $8 for senior citizens and children.
This article was submitted to The Daily Mississippian from an advanced reporting class.