How 'Cannes' you top this film festival?

A year ago, Bowling Green rolled out the red carpet—literally—for the iMovie Festival at BG, complete with limousines, searchlight and velvet ropes at the downtown Cla-Zel Theater.

The student stars from BGSU will be similarly pampered next Saturday (Feb. 25) at what is now the Falcon Film Festival, with red-carpet interviewers thrown in and Best Actor and Best Actress awards up for grabs.

The festival will feature eight short flicks by freshman filmmakers, who will be delivered to the Cla-Zel by limo beginning at about 6:30 p.m. There, students from the Student Technology Center will serve as red-carpet hosts, and even paparazzi, for a DVD that will document the gala premiere.

At the same time, the doors to the Main Street theater will open to the public—free of charge—and at 7 p.m., the festivities will commence with master of ceremonies Sean Ireton, a BGSU senior from Celina.

Ireton, who hosts a weekly hip-hop show on campus radio station WBGU-FM, will introduce the movies—glimpses of the first-semester experience at the University, each five-to-eight minutes long, produced by teams of three to five students.

The films selected for the Saturday screening encompass the work of 40 students. Twenty-two teams, comprising roughly 120 students, initially expressed interest in participating. Nine submitted finished products, which were filmed and edited between Jan. 9 and the Feb. 8 due date.

One member of each team had to attend a training session on the festival’s rules, which include no sex, drugs or alcohol, or simulations thereof, in the films.

The event is designed “to expose freshmen to resources and technology available to them on campus, as well as giving them out-of-class learning and group project experience,” according to Michael Hachtel, co-chair of the festival steering committee and assistant director of residence life for information technology at BGSU.

Five judges will select the top three films at the festival, which drew more than 300 people to the Cla-Zel last year. Each member of the winning team will receive an iPod nano, and iPod shuffles will go to members of the second-place team. Trophies will also be presented to the producers of the top two movies, while the third-place finishers will receive plaques.

Doing the judging will be Dr. Linda Dobb, executive vice president; Linda Newman, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of residence life; Aaron Shumaker, president of Undergraduate Student Government, and two BGSU alumni. Thomas Hofbauer is a Toledo-based writer/producer/director whose films include the award-winning “In the Company of Strangers,” while Mary Ann Fricker is Apple Computer Inc.’s development executive for central U.S. higher education.

Freddie and Frieda Falcon will be on hand to present the Best Actor and Best Actress with their awards—Freddie and Frieda bobblehead dolls.

The offices of the Chief Information Officer and Residence Life, along with the University Bookstore, are primary campus contributors to the event. About 20 other BGSU units have assisted, including the Resident Student Association, which will supply ushers at the theater and, afterward, broadcast the films on campus cable station WRSA.

Support for the second annual festival has increased from both campus and community sources, said Hachtel and Kim Fleshman, the other committee co-chair and program director at the Student Technology Center.

“We contacted more people in the community this year,” Hachtel noted, and the response has been greater. Ten or 11 gift baskets of prizes donated by community sponsors will be given to theatergoers, who can catch a ride to the Cla-Zel via University shuttle from parking Lot N beginning at 6:15 p.m.

With the downtown landmark otherwise closed now, Saturday’s festival may have some historical significance as well, Fleshman added. “It might be one of the last chances to see movies at the Cla-Zel,” she said.
February 20, 2006