Written by Monica Black
Most aspiring filmmakers go to big universities or art schools with well-developed film programs, like USC, NYU, or Cal Arts. But there are those who have chosen to supplement their filmmaking with the liberal arts experience, and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., is attempting to showcase exactly those students’ films. Lawrence hosted the first annual Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Film Festival last weekend, March 1 through 3. Colorado College was featured highly, with 38 CC student films screened.
Six of these films won awards, including junior Charlie Theobald’s documentary film “Turning Point,” which was declared Best Social Impact Film. Theobald’s documentary featured a syringe exchange program in Pueblo, Colo., aimed at helping addicts avoid infection and eventually recover from addiction.
“I was very excited to hear that ‘Turning Point’ got into ACM,” said Theobald. CC had the highest number of films featured, more than double that of any other school.
“I don’t expect my film to radically change public policy at all,” said Theobald. “But if I can at least change someone’s mind and show them this problem, drug use, and addiction in a new light and how it is in everyone’s best interest to support programs like the one in Pueblo, then ‘Turning Point’ would have served its purpose.”
Other CC films won awards, notably alumnus Brendan Young’s “Barkley 100” for Best of the Midwest and alumni Malcolm Barnes’, Charley Bayley’s, and Dillon Tanner’s “Dog Days” for Best Screenplay.
Senior Tom Crandall had two films accepted to the festival, and was a runner-up for Best of the Midwest with his, Andrew DesLauriers’, and Elle Gannon’s “Solo.” The piece was a fictional film about a male and female dancer working on a duet together when romantic attractions begin to develop. “‘Solo,’” said Crandall, “was based on my idea of wanting to use the physicality of dance to portray romantic intimacy and potential discomfort with that level of intimacy.”
CC’s film department is small, with only four core faculty members and a handful of alumni. But the program, like many others around the nation, is quickly growing as film and media studies becomes an academic staple and a necessity for full comprehension of the modern world.
Junior Caitlin Taber, whose film “Seven Letter Word,” which was made with Theobald and junior Ben Coldwell, received a nomination for Best Production Value.
Taber feels grateful for the film program at CC. “I feel fortunate to go to a school that has a program and resources for its students,” said Taber. “Each school was at a different place along the path to a solid film program. Some of the schools actually don’t have an established film program and students have to design their own film major.”
Theobald agreed. “The film department is small and sometimes a bit spread thin,” he said. “But they are so incredibly supportive and I feel lucky to have them on my side.”
For many, the experience of showing their films was profound. “Personally, it wasn’t until this year that I started sharing my films publicly,” said Crandall. “ACM encouraged us to submit as many films as possible, and I think it’s really cool getting positive feedback on something I’ve worked on, especially outside CC.”
“Film is not only collaborative, but for an audience,” said Taber. “Without people to watch and react to your film, it loses its purpose.”