The Chippewa Valley Film Festival brought award winning short films to downtown Eau Claire

This year’s festival featured Kevin Pontuti’s films and production crew

More stories from Jessie Meyen


Photo by Gabbie Henn

The 2018 Chippewa Valley Film Festival was held at the Micon Cinema Downtown theater on Saturday, April 21.

The Chippewa Film Festival put on their third annual show Saturday night at the Micon Cinema Downtown to commemorate the art of the of the short film with the help of award-winning guest Kevin Pontuti.

The festival consisted of two separate programs, the first with a question-and-answer session with the cast and crew of Pontuti’s three films ­­­— “Onere,” “Pecare” and “Vanita” — and the second with a question-and-answer with the other filmmakers.

All three of Pontuti’s short films presented at the festival have won national and international awards.

“Onere,” “Pecare” and “Vanita” were all inspired by Pontuti’s religious background. He said he enjoys and relating spirituality to the psychological landscape of the European Middle Ages.

“I’ve been working on a larger similar project and it takes place in a similar world and time period so that specific era and religion as a whole gave me the idea to create these three films,” Pontuti said.

Along with Pontuti’s collection of awards he received his BFA from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania where he majored in studio art. He then continued on to Syracuse University and received his MFA.

Recently, Pontuti started a digital production company in Los Angeles, Ca, Studio P Inc., headed University of Pacific’s MEDIA X program and currently teaches as a professor at UW-Stout.

During the question-and-answer Pontuti introduced his production team. He introduced Alexandra Loreth as an actress in all three films; Ed Jakober as cinematographer and sound design; Kief Oss on post-production; Chiwei Hui on music; Ander McIntosh on fabrication; Peter Galante as cinematographer and producer; Susan Jakober on costume design; Holly Michel as studio manager and special effects; Claris Collins on styling; and Jennifer Sansfacon on props and special effects.

Pontuti’s celebrated films played one by one followed by a discussion of the production aspect for each.

“One of my favorite parts of production is preproduction and visualizing before the actual production,” Pontuti said, “but I enjoy the days on set and collaboration with the cast and crew, so that’s really important.”

The festival pulled from an array of local, regional, national and international videos to show at the theater.

According to the press release, the organizers received over 700 entries for the festival. The entries came from students and professionals, and included a broad range of genres such as drama, comedy, animation, documentary and experimental.

Kyle Bowe and Mitchell Spencer served as organizers and film screeners for this year’s festival.

Among some of the short films were: “Sweep,” filmed by Jon Paul Wheeler, a graduate student from UW-Stout; “Nee Rabbit,” filmed by Hallie Bahn, a student from the Minnesota College of Art and Design; “Cold Storage,” filmed by Markus Kaatsch from Finland; and “Blue Eyed,” filmed by Jan David Bolt from Switzerland.

Spencer said a teaching aspect on the production process of short films was brought to the festival this year that hasn’t been exhibited in past years.

“This particular venue is short films, and there’s no feature films,” Spencer said. “There’s such a variety of genres that are unique to this area. So, that’s why we keep getting the crowd that comes to see the Chippewa film festival.”

For more information on about Pontuti films and next year’s film festival, head to the Chippewa Valley Film Festival website.