Standing Rock Film Festival goes global


Still frame from the film “Lost and Found” by Joey Bania. 

Melissa Puppo

Immerse yourself in culture from around the world at the 11th annual International Short Film Festival presented by the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Center.

Producer Jeff Ingram said the film festival is a way for arts and culture to come together for the Kent community each year.  

The Kent Stage will showcase 23 pieces for the festival ranging from animation, short comedy, documentaries and silent film. The event will also have live music and other entertainment starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. 

There are three parts to the festival. The first part will feature international short films, the second part will feature five films from feature animator and filmmaker Drew Christie, and the last portion will feature silent films from Brenda Malloy and Mike Hovancsek, a local director and filmmaker, along with live music from Hovancsek, Joe Culley and Rex Sheppard. 

Hovancsek created the film festival 11 years ago after he was disappointed in how disrespectful people were during a previous Kent film festival he attended. 

“This is a college town, and people would probably really enjoy a film event than this mess that was going on, so I went to Standing Rock Cultural Arts, and I said, ‘Hey, what if I create this film festival so we can build this up?’ ” Hovancsek said. 

Since then, Standing Rock has continued to deliver a new film festival each year, with new elements and filmmakers to showcase. 

This year’s festival blends filmmakers from around the globe, from places as diverse as Austria, Germany and China, with locals. Some films to be showcased include: “Blessings in Disguise,” from the U.S.; “Lost & Found,” from England; “Trip,” from Brazil and “Giangrande,” from Italy. 

“When we pick filmmakers for this we try to get a good balance of humor and seriousness,” Ingram said.

“One of the neat things about the festival is that a vast majority of the films are five minutes or less, so as a result you get to go on a journey through all kinds of styles and cultures and influences, and if for a moment you say you don’t like this kind of film, it’ll be over soon,” Hovansek said. “It keeps moving and changing. It’s this idea of keeping the people engaged with a lot of ideas.”

Ingram said a lot of these films on average can take anywhere from about eight to nine months or more to develop and put together in time for the festival. 


Still frame from the film “Ballpoint Barber” by Peter Simon. It is a film where a still photograph of a man comes to life and gets a haircut and a shave with a magic pen.

Ingram said one thing to watch for at this festival is a Chinese film in the first half called “Ruuun!” The piece utilized roughly 100 animators who each individually draw part of the film. It comes together in a fast-paced, detailed and colorful animation of someone running through different scenes.  

The films are judged on aspects such as technical expertise and originality, as well as other factors. Two awards will be given out; one $100 prize for Judge’s Choice and one for People’s Choice, for which the audience gets to vote on who they believe did a great job. 

Hovancsek said the film festival usually gets a great turnout, with people of all different cultures, backgrounds and ages showing up to enjoy themselves. 

“They laughed at huge moments, and they are really into it,” he said. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at the Kent Stage’s website. Student and senior tickets are $7, and general admission is $10. 

Ingram said if students are interested in applying for next year’s festival or want to get involved with Standing Rock, they are always looking for more people. The application and more information are on Standing Rock’s website.

Contact Melissa Puppo at [email protected]