The first Chaminade Film Festival coming next spring


Starr Benson : The mind behind the Chaminade Film Festival.

Vina Cristobal

Chaminade students who that have dreams of showcasing skills of directing, acting, or editing a short film of their own will finally have the chance to express themselves in the first official Chaminade Film Festival. This upcoming spring semester, the Office of Student Activities and the Communications Department have cooperated to orchestrate an event that gives students a chance to let their creativity flow and share it with their peers. The festival will not be limited to Communications majors but extends the competition to any student of any discipline that would like to submit their work.

“The challenge is getting everybody involved,” said Starr Benson, a Communications major, a staff writer in the Silversword news team and employee of OSAL, who founded the idea for the event. Alongside the professors of the Communications department, Eva Washburn, Tom Galli, Carolyn Kuriyama and Cliff Bieberly, Benson’s dreams of giving every student  chance to show their talent are coming to fruition.

“I don’t want it to be just directed to the Communications students, because we feel as if we have priority already. Communications majors are creative, but this is a community and we aren’t just all comm majors. You don’t know if there is a nursing major who is skilled in video making. There are all types of people who have other interests besides their majors.”

The film festival was originally set to take place this month of November, however it was postponed. Benson hopes to hold it outside but was worried about the rain and the lack of time for students to organize their pieces with quality. This gives students more time to prepare their videos for the competition with precision. The assumed new date for the event is Wednesday, February 26, 2014, on the library lawn. There will be free food, popcorn and plenty of entertainment for attendants.

“The challenge is persuading people to actually come and participate in the Chaminade Film Festival. I know as students we have so much on our plate, and we get so overwhelmed. Sometimes we see something we really want to do that’s extracurricular, and we feel like can’t do it because we aren’t in that type of major. Anyone can do this.”

Chaminade has never held anything such as this before, making this a prolific event in the department of Communications and the student body overall. Students are given the opportunity to construct a piece in any category they choose. Genres welcomed to the competition include, horror, mystery, suspense, sci-fi, comedy, romance, documentary and music video.  The length of all creative pieces must range between 3 to 6 minutes in order to qualify.

“For years we have been doing a speech and public speaking competition, but this time we decided we would let students express themselves in a visual way, which would be through video,” says Cliff Bieberly, the head of the Communications department at Chaminade University and cofounder of the festival.

“The goal is to give students a chance to be creative,” says Bieberly.  “They get to use their communication through video skills and create something that interests or entertains people. We want to reward and encourage that effort. We want to get as many entries as possible. Anybody can enter.  A lot of students may have some skills in video making and hopefully they are able to use that knowledge to tell a story or communicate a message to help people understand something. Maybe move them emotionally, amuse them or inform.  To get that from students is the goal.”

The festival will have a competition based on voting from the viewers. Prizes will be awarded to the pieces that get the greatest number of votes from the viewers in each of the five video categories. The first-place prizewinners in each category will receive $100 and a Mackey Award trophy, named after Father Mackey who will be helping to financially sponsor the event.

A prize will also be awarded to the video chosen for the People’s Choice competition. The People’s Choice award will be given to the production that was liked the best and most popular out of the entire competition. However, the overall event is more so a chance for students of all majors to congregate and let their light shine through productions of their own.

Alongside the freedom to create whatsoever they want, students must also remember to stay along the guidelines to keep the films from being offensive or in-compliant with Chaminade University’s Marianist Values.  Rules for the festival clearly state that any film submitted cannot contain cursing, nudity, drug/alcohol use, sexual undertones, racism, sexism, homophobia or explicitness and will be reviewed by Galli in order to be used in the competition.

“I want to just involve the whole Chaminade community in this,” said Benson. “Those that are talented and gifted, no matter what they’re doing, I want that to be shown to the whole school. I believe that if you have a talent it should be recognized regardless of whatever type of major you’re doing, Comm or not.”