by Brianna Anderson
The third annual Leonard Oakland Film Festival featured a foreign film this weekend, as a part of Whitworth’s Heritage Month international theme; “I’ve Loved You So Long,” as well as a documentary filmed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil “Favela Rising.”
English professor Casey Andrews said exposing Whitworth students to foreign film is important because they are different from the typical Hollywood films most are used to seeing.
“These movies aren’t going to feel like what we expect,” Andrews said. “That’s kind of the point of this festival; we’re trying not to show films that we think people have seen already.”
Following the organization of previous years, the festival showed three films representing areas of Oakland’s film teaching: documentary, international cinema and American film. The purpose of the festival was to also raise money for the Leonard Oakland film studies endowment.
“We are now well on our way toward the $50,000 first goal for the endowment,” said English professor Leonard Oakland.
The second year of the film festival marked the beginning of the Student Film and Animation Competition; challenging promising film-making students to test their artistic abilities by offering them the chance to win prize money for their creative ventures.
“For me there wasn’t really an appeal or choice when it came to what category my film would land in, it really chose me,” Senior Ryan Graves said. “When I make movies I don’t decide that I want to make an experimental film over a narrative, rather I write a story and allow the mode to spring forth from that idea.”
Graves is an English literature major from Sammamish, Wash. His short film “Walcmune” won second place in last year’s competition; Graves created the film in his Digital Storytelling class. This year, Graves’ submission, “I Wonder,” takes on a traditional narrative of storytelling. With aspirations of outdoing himself, Graves pushed himself harder this year to create something even better than in previous years.
‘I Wonder’ is about a young man sitting in a coffeeshop who sees a beautiful girl. He begins to imagine how he would approach her but imagines all the different ways it could go wrong,” Graves said.
Students were judged on technical and narrative quality. There were fewer than 10 entries this year. The student films were screened by a panel of judges on the festival committee including: Leonard Oakland, Scott Kolbo, Adam Neder, Nancy Rau, Casey Andrews, Nicole Sheets and many others.
Both Andrews and Kolbo agreed they would like students who are interested in making films to experience new things and explore the opportunities Whitworth is seeking to provide by putting together this festival. Andrews said he hopes next year they are overwhelmed with submissions.