You probably know a film studies major. Perhaps s/he is a roommate or just that guy/girl in class who feels the need to parallel every topic of study to the way Scorsese masterfully saturated the hues in Taxi Driver. Either way, they either delight or disgust you. Even if you’ve successfully high-tailed your way out of a seemingly endless discussion of diegetic vs. nondiegetic sound, it’s likely you haven’t missed hearing about the revolution taking place in modern cinema.
Digital filmmaking began making waves a few years back and was thrust into the spotlight after George Lucas decided to shoot both new Star Wars episodes entirely on digital. Next came heavyweights like Steven Soderberg and Richard Linkletter and now the digital explosion feels imminent. For those who have yet to set up their own Skywalker Ranch, digital filmmaking is still a reality. Digital camera prices have dropped significantly over the last few years, so that even impoverished student filmmakers can purchase a quality DV camera for between$2,000 and $4,000. With the sudden accessibility of DV equipment has come a rebirth of young, inspired filmmakers, finally able to bring long lost celluloid fantasies to life through programs like iMovie and Final Cut Pro.
Two years ago, senior film studies major Joy Crouch founded the Digital Video Association here at UCSB with her sister Amaris and now plans to bring the Digital Film Festival to I.V. Theater on Friday for its third annual run. The festival is meant to be a no holds barred collection of student filmmakers utilizing digital filmmaking in short films capped at 15 minutes each.
“We want to emphasize this is an art exhibit with no pressure for anyone, so there’s no judging or prizes,” DVA vice president Mike Plescia said. “Digital is becoming so popular and widely used by artists and students. It’s an easy, accessible and inexpensive way of making film. It’s a medium that’s taking over.”
There are 25 films currently entered, all averaging around four to five minutes each. Almost all the films are digital, though some were accepted that had been shot half film, half digital. The event, sponsored by Associated Students, Educational Opportunity Program and Vice Chancellor Young’s office, features films with names like “Un Chien, un Perro, und un Hund,” “Forever Hung” and “Clown Suit, Penis Out, Daisy Dukes.”
Plescia’s film, “All After 6,” is slated to be the climax of the festival, using stop-motion animation with toys and puppeteering devices removed digitally. At last Friday’s Reel Loud festival, the trailer garnered the greatest audience response as He-Man action figures and Barbie s flew frantically at the screen. “It’s about a battle between good and evil using troll toys,” Plescia said. “We had to deal with pyrotechnics and fireballs and were filming inside. We burnt a lot of linoleum and furniture.”
For those with a taste for the more – ahem – realistic, senior film studies major Doug Bresler brings his film, “Nick and Haig,” to the festival. “It’s an animated documentary of interviews with college students talking about their lives, and what it feels like to be this age,” Bresler said. His film utilizes digital video animation in combination with Macromedia Flash.
Then, there are those filmmakers willing to push the Digital Film Festival to a whole new frontier. Senior film studies major Mason Grace and recent alum John McKinney have a staggering six films entered in the competition, including, “Clown Suit, Penis Out, Daisy Dukes,” which features a bit of the ol’ Dirk Diggler for lusty audience members. ” Our goal as filmmakers is to fuck you up on seven different levels,” Grace said. “‘Clown Suit, Penis Out, Daisy Dukes’ is the best thing I have ever seen in my life. And I really believe that. Also, ‘The Bromise’ successfully mixes sex appeal and desperation.”
Another of their films, “Brobot,” tracks the somewhat dissatisfying purchase of a new robot by young children on the playground. Just in case you haven’t had your full-frontal fill, “The Bromise” offers a bit more of Mr. Grace for the screen.
Support student filmmaking and come out to the Digital Film Festival this Friday, starting at 7:30 p.m. in I.V. Theater. Tickets are $5 at the Film Studies Office in Ellison Hall.