Last Friday evening, the UCSB Film & Media Studies Dept. proved that “cinema’s eminent demise” has been greatly exaggerated by hosting its annual Reel Loud Film Festival.
Celebrating its 21st year, the festival’s theme was the “Death of Cinema,” which was beautifully encapsulated by the festival’s outdoor décor. This festival has been a staple of the UCSB film lover’s social calendar since its inception in 1991.
Reel Loud exhibits student-made silent films, shot on 16mm film stock, which are accompanied by live performances. This year, 11 films were selected by the festival committee to be exhibited.
“The films this year were very strong, and the event went really smoothly,” Sarah Agronow, third-year film and media studies major and festival coordinator, said.
Of the 11 films screened, three took home top honors. The comedic “Spicy Maestro” (directed by Jane Kim) garnered awards for Best Editing and Best Live Accompaniment, while WWII-thriller “The Archive” (directed by Jedediah Demke and Nicholas Setchell) received Best Cinematography and the festival’s prestigious Golden Reel (the festival’s equivalent to Best Film). Also honored was the darkly comic “Trunko” (directed by Sam Lerner) which scored the Audience Choice award.
Student filmmaker and third-year film and media studies major Hilary Campbell — whose docudrama, “This Is Not the End,” premiered at the festival — praised Reel Loud for being one of the few campus-based events that exhibits student films.
“For film majors, there’s nothing else like it,” Campbell said.
Reel Loud has kept the tradition of 16mm filmmaking alive on campus.
“We fought against going digital,” Agronow, who admitted there are challenges associated with this older filmmaking process, said.
Yet student filmmakers, like Campbell, were up to the challenge.
“Because it’s shot on 16mm, these films require a lot of dedication and effort,” Campbell said. “You really pour your heart into them.”
The multimedia event also featured performances by spoken-word group Lip Bomb, female a capella group VocalMotion, hip hop dance crew What?!?! and folk-indie band Rainbow Girls, as well as the large mix of musical performers that accompanied the films. By the turn out, it seems Reel Loud is a cinematic tradition that will continue to live for many more years.