Digging up love and revenge

Eau Claire films featuring Valentine’s Day-related themes screened at the annual Festival Eau Cinema

Story by Brian Sheridan, Staff Writer

Love, revenge and low-budget films made on the family’s video recorder.

All of these are enticing qualities bringing students and Eau Claire community members together at the University of Activities Commission’s Festival Eau Cinema, a film project which featured works by students and local community members March 31 in the Woodland Theater.

Festival Eau Cinema has been put on for the last three years, and allows local filmmakers and film enthusiasts to create their movie and put it up on the big screen.

University Activities’ chair for the committee on films, Katie Hafemann, believes the festival localizes the idea of film-making to make it more personal to the Eau Claire community.

“It’s just meant to bring film-making home and sort of remind people that here is an opportunity to do something you are interested in and create art,” Hafemann said.

The film festival has been known to bring in a number of individuals who are not from UW-Eau Claire, festival coordinator Nicole Rindone said.

“We often have a group from Memorial High School who makes a film,” Rindone said. “We have a lot of community members who make a film, but it’s really just a group of people who enjoy film and film-making.”

Those who choose to participate are given 28 days to complete a film, which must be under 12 minutes. Just before directors are given permission to start, the film committee announces the year’s theme, as well as the mandatory prop and line.

This year, the theme was romance and revenge since it was supposed to start around Valentine’s day, Hafemann said. In addition, each film had to include a shovel and a line in the script that says, ‘Can you dig it?’.

Before the public screening, a staff of four judges review the films and give awards to them. At the end of the screening, the audience votes on their favorite film, and there is an award ceremony to commemorate the noteworthy films and moments.

Five films were created this year by dozens of individuals. Actors, writers, directors and lovers of movies watched as the month-long effort came together for the official showing.

Alex Kolb, producer for the film “Bad Vibrations,” sat among his cast members, who were adorned in tin foil clothing, to watch the final product of their labor. Kolb has worked with his director of Bad Vibrations in past film projects, and has enjoyed the highs and lows of this adventure.

“We came in with good quality and came up with good ideas but it really deviated a lot and kept going in different directions,” said Kolb. “We decided to go just where the fun took us instead of just keeping to what we originally planned.”

UAC also puts on another film festival in the fall called the 48-Hour Video Project, where 10-minute films are written, recorded and edited in 48 hours. With less time, more chaos and an exuberant amount of film-making joy, Nicole Rindone believes this is “absolutely something” filmmakers should participate in.

If students feel like gathering their Friday night monster movie marathon group to create their own work of art, contact Katie Hafemann at [email protected] to be put on the films list for information about meetings and upcoming events.