Film Students Receive Due Props

There aren’t many opportunities at UCI for film and media studies students to showcase and receive recognition for their hard work and passion of film. The 12th Annual Zotfest Student Film Festival attempted to change this fact by giving students an opportunity to present their work and receive feedback on Saturday, May 28 from 3:30 to 9 p.m.

The event began in the afternoon with a red carpet opening party. Attendants were given five free meal tickets upon entering to use at various food vendors. Free kettle corn and Vitamin Water were distributed, among other products. After an hour and a half of mingling and eating, the doors opened to HIB 100 and the public was invited in to view several different student films.

Many students submitted films to be shown at Zotfest, but only 16 out of 58 submissions made the final cut. The films were chosen by a panel of faculty and staff from the film and media studies and studio arts departments. The picks for films to be shown were chosen entirely by faculty members because they were worried that any type of student involvement would create bias.

Students were able to submit films that fell under any type of genre. The maximum length of the movie could be 10 to 12 minutes, but many of them were shorter. This allowed for more films to be chosen —  the faculty simply selected as many qualified films as they could that could be shown during a three-hour viewing period.

Once the doors were opened at 5 p.m., the premiere of the selected videos began shortly after. The types of films that were shown varied greatly: one was about a dysfunctional couple being stalked by werewolves, while another chronicled a man’s struggle to cope with a recent breakup and his attempt to move forward. Although the subjects were vastly different in each one, all films shared a common thread of being extremely well-written, planned and directed.

After all of the films were shown, film and media studies faculty members chose seven films to receive festival awards. Awards were given for categories such as “Best Actor,” “Best Actress,” “Best Screenplay” or “Best Director.” Additionally, a “People’s Choice Award” and “Special Jury Prize” were given, along with the top prize of “The Golden Anteater.”

After the event, it was clear that the Zotfest Student Film Festival had achieved its goal of showcasing many of the very talented filmmakers at UCI. The festival also wanted to give students the opportunity to connect with other peers, alumni and faculty who shared a love for film. Through the camaraderie and support shown by attendants and participants alike, it was evident that these hard-working students received the recognition they deserved.

The entire purpose of Zotfest was mainly to promote unrepresented artists and give them an outlet to receive praise, criticism and just general feedback.

“A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to participate in an event like this,” said Director of Marketing Monica Nadal. “Especially in the Arts and Humanities, it’s tough to see where your work is going. At an event like this, we have people who actually watch and appreciate people’s work … it’s amazing.”

Aside from the feedback, this festival also transforms a small community of artists into a large network of filmmakers, bringing several opportunities to students who wouldn’t have received them otherwise.

Once again, Zotfest brought a successful event that not only provided entertainment for audience members, but benefited the filmmakers as well.