Silent films will have a chance to pump up the volume in Campbell Hall tonight, as the Film & Media Studies Dept. presents the 16th annual Reel Loud Film Festival.
The festival, a showcase of film, art and live music, will feature a selection of 15 silent films made by UCSB students and alumni. The event – themed “Carnivale: Reel Specimens of the Unknown,” this year – was organized by a committee of UCSB students in conjunction with the Film & Media Studies Dept. Each 16-mm film is accompanied by live musical performances and runs under six and one-half minutes long.
According to Joe Palladino, undergraduate adviser for the Film & Media Studies Dept., the festival premiered in 1991, started by a group of UCSB interested in silent filmmaking.
“[It was started by] students who were wrapped up in the excitement of the silent era and wanted to recreate that feeling,” Palladino said.
The 15 films that will be shown tonight were selected by a committee of judges – several of whom were students – from a total of 21 submissions. In between showings, several live bands – such as Winslow, White Collar, Full Switch Coma, the Hairbrain Scheme and the Urban Hip Hop Dance Team – will be performing for audience members.
In addition, each of the student filmmakers select their own scores to complement the themes of their films, said Ryan Medina, a third-year film & media studies and art studio double major.
Before the festival begins, a showcase of student artwork will be on display outside Campbell Hall from 6:30 to 8 p.m. According to second-year art studio and art history major Lauren Nagel, who founded the gallery portion of the film festival last year, the artwork will include paintings, photography and sketches that embody the “Carnivale” theme.
While most of tonight’s films were produced by film & media studies majors, all UCSB students were eligible to submit their shorts.
Sonja Blume, a fourth-year French and dramatic art major, said she had never made a film before, but was inspired to make a short for this year’s Reel Loud after viewing the Charlie Chaplin silent films of the 1920s and 1930s.
“Coming in not having taken one film class here, it’s amazing how supportive everyone one was and how open they were to hearing your ideas,” Blume said.
Blume’s film, “Pink Slip,” tells the story of a man named Harry who gets fired the day of his anniversary with his girlfriend. He goes to outrageous lengths, including a stint as a lion tamer, in order to get another job before his date with his girlfriend that night.
Palladino said the filmmakers have complete freedom in choosing the concepts for their shorts, which often yields interesting results.
“You never know what you are going to see,” Palladino said. “There are a few student film genres that always seem to get touched on, but each year it is a batch of surprises.”
Sara Iyer, a fourth-year film & media studies major and publicity coordinator of the festival, said her film “Love Muffin,” is a parody of many of the clichŽs found in romantic movies. She said it chronicles the story of a lonely man who creates a muffin man out of baking mix. The film will be accompanied by the Blue Spectacular’s cover of the ’80s classic, “Don’t You Forget About Me.”
Tonight’s event will culminate with an award ceremony honoring the best musical score, the committee choice award, the Golden Reel and the audience choice award.
Medina, who produced the event, said the recognition that comes with these awards can go a long way. Two of the big winners from last year, “Sister Mary Katherine’s Happy Fun-Time Abortion Adventure” and “Fatty and the Sandman,” premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this year.
Reel Loud Film Festival begins at 8 p.m. and tickets are available via presale at the A.S. Ticket Office and in the Arbor for $10, or $12 at the door.