The 22nd Reel Loud Film Festival will take over Campbell Hall on Friday May 24. If you’re wondering what Reel Loud is, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the last two quarters, as posters and events advertising the festival’s theme, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” have been all over the campus and the Isla Vista community.
The Film & Media department’s annual exhibition of student shorts is easily the most anticipated and unique local event for film-lovers, which first began in 1991. Each of the films exhibited at Reel Loud is under seven minutes, silent and accompanied by live music on stage, harking back to the era of classical cinema and early Vaudeville performance traditions.
This year, Reel Loud has been more active in the UCSB community than ever before, hoping to appeal to those who might not normally attend a student film festival. But as anyone who has been to the event in the past knows, the Reel Loud Film Festival is about much more than just film. The festival emphasizes local student musicians, comedians and artists in addition to filmmakers.
Hilary Campbell, this year’s festival director, thought up a public campaign to spur interest. Beginning in Fall Quarter, black-and-white posters featuring graphics from famous Hitchcock films — “Psycho,” “Vertigo,” “The Birds,” “Rear Window” and “North by Northwest” — covered campus and I.V. The posters’ QR code led people to a cryptic blog that asked the question “Who Framed Hitchcock?” and featured fake news stories that Alfred Hitchcock had been arrested for murdering his movie characters. A fake news video even played before the “Psycho”/“Hitchcock” double feature at Magic Lantern.
The Reel Loud committee also hosted a Hitchcock-themed carnival on the SRB lawn this quarter, where attendees could have their caricature drawn in Hitchcock-style, color pictures of the famed director and have their photo taken in front of a movie scene backdrop to put themselves in a Hitchcock movie. The night ended with an outdoor screening of the classic film “Rear Window.”
While Reel Loud has historically been a 16mm-only festival (hence the title’s film-reel pun), for the first time this year, digital entries were also accepted. To many purists, the new format is disappointing. It also points to rapid technological changes happening in the film industry, where many large companies (like Kodak) have stopped selling motion picture film and more filmmakers have begun shooting on digital.
This year, Reel Loud festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. outside Campbell Hall, where attendees can get their picture taken in front of Hitchcock movie scene backdrops, look at displays of UCSB student art and see more of the “Who Framed Hitchcock?” campaign, all while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and listening to film scores from Hitchcock’s famous thrillers. Everyone attending is encouraged to dress in formal clothing and walk the red carpet before the main event. Screenings of the films begins promptly at 8 p.m. and promise to be “A Bloody Good Time!”
A version of this article appeared on page 12 of May 23rd’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.