First annual Tahoe Underground Film Festival
Core 101 students and the Film Club organize local film festival
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The curtains were drawn and the seats were filled with students, professors and locals gathered to watch a series of films from around the world. With 2,366 submissions from 97 countries, students from Sierra Nevada College’s Core 101 class and the Film Club selected 87 of the top rated films for the first annual Tahoe Underground Film Festival.
Students organized five programs featuring eight to 20 diverse films in each screening over the course of two days on Nov. 4 and 5 in the Holman Arts and Media Center and at the University of Reno.
“The lens of our world through independent films allows us to connect with what is not offered in mainstream media,” Jarianna Sutherland, the president of the Film Festival said. “Visual stories are important to our society because in some cases it is the only way we can see our society from a brief narrative filled with texture and meaning.”
The Fine Arts Program looked for contemporary films, video and installation work highlighting environmental concerns, and questioning the media itself. “We hope to highlight the best in artistic, experimental, original humorous, political and visionary film, video and the greater spectrum of the visual arts,” according the TUFF website www.tahoeunderground.org.
The student jury panel watched and rated the short films based on originality and creativity, direction, writing, cinematography, performance, production value, pacing, structure as well as sound and music.
Professor Daniel Kelly, a videography and photography teacher at SNC who previously worked on the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, brought the event to Tahoe when he moved to the area. Kelly opened the call on www.filmfreeway.com in the spring, and worked with visiting artist Steve Lambert over the summer to set up the Co-op Bar (a student-run cooperative bar selling drinks and snacks), designed for students to fundraise for art events like TUFF.
“I really like the model of student volunteers coming together to build something that lasts,” said Kelly. “This class did a super fantastic job because they raised enough money that I feel confident that we can bring at least two visiting artists and still have another festival next year.”
Students raised $3,000 to put on the free festival, with the intent to support artists while also making it accessible to viewers. Fundraising efforts were made by selling handmade TUFF goods at the festival, donations from an Indiegogo campaign and the open mic Co-op Bar media center events in the Holman Arts Building. The money raised will go towards bringing two to three visiting artists workshops next semester, as well as awarding the top film maker and aid for future TUFF events.
The independent films were different mediums from video format to animation and stop motion. Artists used film and digital technologies showing different techniques like panoramic photographs, hand painted cinema (camera less animation) and multimedia.
“One thing about short films that is interesting is that if you don’t know the run time on them it kind of keeps you in suspense because you don’t know if this is the thing that is going to clench it or if it’s going to go somewhere else,” Digital Arts professor Chris Lanier said.
A few of the short films discussed topics including social politics, racism and the fear of change, confronting internet culture and tension between the digital and physical world, learning disabilities, fighting cancer, the pressure placed on women to control their appearance, the pursuit of happiness, love, drama, art and finding deeper meanings of the world.
Sutherland share her favorite piece this year titled “Potter” by Akshar Jani, where a father’s careful work in pottery described his love and sacrifice for his daughter.
Greek Skies by Panagiotis Filippou from Greece, spent 365 days, 825 hours shooting photos, and 650 hours of editing dedicated to his dear dad Konstantinos whowas not given a fair chance to fight cancer.