Although student-produced film festival Reel Loud seems as engrained in the UCSB experience as Natty Ice kegs and Freebird burritos, it’s hard to believe that it was just 10 years ago that the Filmmaker’s Co-op launched the popular experience. Combining live music and student-produced films, Reel Loud not only showcases our fellow students’ talents but uses the proceeds from the event to continue to run the Filmmaker’s Co-op. Entirely student run, the Filmmaker’s Co-op is an organization that – relying only on donations – lends equipment and services to any budding UCSB filmmaker, regardless of year or major.
Student filmmakers whose films are selected to be in Reel Loud have a chance to further their careers. A panel of judges, including many film studies professors and members of the Filmmaker’s Co-op, presents the Golden Reel Award and $250 in Kodak film to one lucky filmmaker. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the festival will showcase student-made cinema this Friday night in Campbell Hall.
Artsweek got a chance to chat with the director of the Reel Loud Film Festival, senior history/film studies major Conor Anna Copeland.
Artsweek: Could you tell us about this year’s Reel Loud and the history of the festival?
Copeland: It was started 10 years ago by two female students. The Film Studies Dept. at UCSB is very theory based, so they started Reel Loud Film Festival as an opportunity to have a venue for student filmmakers to show and exhibit their work. It has evolved over the last 10 years from just being a place for exhibitions for any filmmaker who’s filmed a movie within a year to put it up on the big screen to, in the last five years, where Reel Loud has a selection committee with a selection process to get approved and into the film festival. The show used to run hours and hours into the night but now it’s a concise, two-and-a-half hour show. This year, because of our 10-year anniversary, we felt it was important to really highlight work that the average person would enjoy coming in and seeing. We were looking for quality films. We therefore accepted eight films into our festival this year.
Out of how many?
Out of fourteen submissions. The selection committee consisted of two professors, an academic advisor and a teaching assistant from the Film Studies Dept. There’s six of us on the committee. We screened films and accepted eight. Reel Loud has always been somewhat of a carnival-esque atmosphere. They’re primarily silent films accompanied by live music.
All of them are silent films?
All of them are silent films accompanied by live bands, deejays, some form of entertainment. And then Reel Loud has always had live acts. This year we are very excited to have Blazing Haley opening our show. We have theater group Woven, the Multicultural Drama Company and the UCSB Middle Eastern Ensemble and a spoken word piece by Melanie Hensch. So those are interspersed as we change the reels.
How long are most of the films?
Most of the films are about seven minutes.
So, it’s just only about an hour of watching film.
Yeah. And interspersed live acts. This year we have incorporated the Inspirational Award for Alumni Achievement, and we’re honoring Academy Award nominee Don Hertzfeldt.
Is he gonna be there?
Yes. Dana Driskel, a head of production in the Film Studies Dept., is gonna present the award.
That sounds pretty cool. I can’t think of anything else I wanna ask.
Can I say a little bit about the films?
This year we have a wide variety of films from pixelation, to claymation, to a documentary on Fight Night, to your classic, narrative-based film. The films that were accepted this year were very high quality from camera work to the writing and are really high quality films.
Reel Loud takes place Friday, May 25, at 8 p.m. in Campbell Hall. While the doors open at 7:30, students are encouraged to buy their tickets beforehand, as the event has sold out the last four years. $6 in advance; $8 at the door.