Last Friday night I received a text message that read “Remember Reel Loud screening tomorrow 9am, Ellison 1714.” I received the message with mixed enthusiasm. I was excited to get the opportunity to be a part of something as wonderful as the film fest, especially being a film major myself, but 9 a.m.? Honestly? This put somewhat of a hamper on my indulgence of adult beverages for the evening, especially because I did not know what to expect the following morning. So, early Saturday the alarm went off and I rolled out of bed, had a scrumptious breakfast of “Excedrin: Tension Headache” and biked off into the celluloid oblivion.

To most the 14th annual Reel Loud Film Festival, or just the Reel Loud, is an on campus film “thing” where live bands play to crazy student films. Friends, it is much more than that – they have DJ’s too. Ironically, the Reel Loud is a collection of silent films. Bands, DJs, onstage actors and even the directors themselves produce the sounds you hear. The films must also be shot on film stock of 16 millimeters; hence the “Reel” in “Reel Loud.” The other basic requirement is simply that the films not exceed six and a half minutes for the sake of the viewing public. Other than that, anything goes and that literally means anything, on or off camera. The Reel Loud is a competition, but more importantly it is a chance for filmmakers to exhibit their work for everyone. The impression that came across at Saturday’s screening was that more than anything the festival is about having fun. Or rather, to say that six and a half minutes is not really enough time to make some larger pretentious statement about the complexities of an alcohol-filled college existence, so instead let’s have some laughs.

The Reel Loud committee is the group that organizes and selects all the acts and films, along with designing the film festival. Made up of film studies students, members of A.S. Program Board, the Artsweek editorial staff and one devilishly handsome undergraduate coordinator, our powers combined to keep a fresh outlook on the material. We brought a variety of opinions in order to ensure the best possible show for you, the viewer. Such a task requires the better part of a beautiful spring day to be cooped up in doors, which makes being in charge of almost every aspect of the film fest is no easy task. If not for the Diet Shasta liter cola and awesome ranch vegetable dip we may not have made it through the day.

Selection and order within the festival is based around a number of factors other than film content. First we viewed every single film and discussed the high points and low points. The films had to work as a “silent,” leaving us to ask how well the story was portrayed visually. We watched for the film’s ability to exhibit a continuous flow that was understandable. In such a short amount of time, jumps and cuts in editing may leave the audience guessing as to the hows and whys of the action. We discussed how original the story concepts seemed. These films did not seem to lack in ambition because, as you will see, some of these filmmakers tried to tackle huge ideas, stuffing as much information into these shorts as possible. Some films obviously had higher budgets than others, while some overcame lack of experience and technique with more interesting, though less complicated plot lines. Every Reel Loud has a theme, and this year’s is a throwback to all the cheesy but classic 50s sci-fi/horror movies like “Attack of the 50 foot Woman” and “This Island Earth.” A few films stayed in line with this theme despite the numerous Honda Civics and Abercrombie & Fitch skirts we noticed in the background. One of two larger determining factors was theme and content. As much fun as a student porno may have been, that sort of thing just couldn’t make the cut. The panel still retained some standards, even if they were very low. Many of these films dealt with rather taboo and macabre subjects and even though most were suitable and acceptable, we were still on the lookout. The largest issue that presented a problem in selection and order was each film’s use of music. The question arose as to what each film needed. We had to sort out entries so that we did not have four DJs followed by a thrasher metal band. Aside from just bad taste in music, the set up and tear down time would simply be to long, in turn dragging the energy of the festival to a halt. After toying with the numerous combinations of the thirteen selected films, we finally agreed on an order that would maximize awesomeness.

So there you have it. This is what it takes to make the best little film fest in the West. In a record eight straight hours we had everything set up and ready to go. The films still must go back to the crews for final completion and last minute changes, but there is no doubt this festival is going to be crazy, wild fun. Campbell Hall sells out regularly for this thing and anyone who is anyone will be there. Ryland Aldrich, the Reel Loud committee chairperson, said he would chomp my face off if I didn’t put this in here, so this one’s for Ryland: Presale tickets will be available in the Buchanan courtyard or Ellison 1720 beginning Monday, May 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are only a limited number of tickets reserved for presale and they will be available each day in those two locations until they sell out. The presale price is $8. Even fewer tickets will be available at the door. Night-of tickets will be $10 each so it is a good idea to buy the presale tickets early to avoid the lines and save some cash. There will be a number of awards given out, including an officially selected winner by professional film buffs and an audience award for the crowd favorite, so good luck to all the filmmakers. And remember: It’s not if you win or lose, it’s how big of a sound your silent movie can make.