Kent State Stark student to host campus’ first film festival

Submitted photo.

Submitted photo.

Katie Paukst

One student decided to take a regular school project and turn it into a university-wide event for everyone at Kent State to enjoy.

Ashley Meinke, senior communications major at Kent State Stark, is a part of the honors college, in which every graduating senior must complete a thesis project. Most students write a paper, but Ashley took it one step further: She is producing Kent State Stark’s first ever student film festival.

Meinke said it all started last year, when she attended Kent State’s Flix Fest.

“I thought we could do this here at Stark,” Meinke said. “We have students who really love films but may not have the opportunity that Kent State main campus may have. Now they can show their talents and go for it.”

Meinke thought the festival could be a great student based event, but said she couldn’t do it alone.

“I have had a lot of help from people, but mainly two women, Amber Gaj and Leslie Heaphy,” Meinke said.

Gaj, a senior English major, is handling all of the fundraising and donations for the film festival.

“It’s so fun to be a part of this project, and exciting, especially because of how excited and enthusiastic Ashley is,” Gaj said.

Heaphy, associate professor of history and honors program coordinator, has supported Meinke’s project since the beginning.

“I think it is an amazing opportunity for Ashley to start with and to simply apply what she has learned,” Heaphy said. “She will gain skills and give her something to show people what she has done.”

Heaphy also expressed excitement for what she feels this project will show to other students on campus.

“We want to help students enhance their education, and this is a great example of this,” Heaphy said. “It shows the kind of opportunities to students about what is out there. It is expanding on just book learning.

Meinke said the feedback from the students has been outstanding.

“Students have come to me and said how excited they are and are taking full advantage of the opportunity and that makes me feel so good,” Meinke said.

The event will be every movie enthusiast’s dream, Meinke said. Audience members will be treated to a red carpet, complete with paparazzi, free popcorn, drinks, prizes and films at no charge. There will also be a backdrop for audience members to have their picture taken.

A four-member panel will judge the films. Heaphy, James Waters, coordinator of the Canton Film Festival, Dave Andrews, local producer and director, and Kelleigh Miller, executive producer of films and commercials around the world.

Student deadline for registration is March 27.

Films may be submitted to the drop box in the lobby of Main Hall at Kent State Stark

Non-Stark Students can submit their films to a representative, in the main lobby of Franklin Hall (Kent Main) from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27.

Any genre welcome, just keep under 10 minutes

Actual event is Tuesday, April 10 from 7-9 p.m.

This event has been funded by both Kent State and by fundraising and donations.

“We have gotten some great prizes donated for the event,” Gaj said. “The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 worth of media composer editing software. Other prizes include a Canon printer and gift cards. For the audience, there will be a raffle and the first 50 audience members at the event will receive a free Robeck’s coupon.”

Any Kent State student may enter the film festival. Students who have already produced a film can submit it or as many as they would like. The film can be any genre, music video or trailer; it just must be 10 minutes or less and in a DVD format.

The event is Tuesday, April 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 in the Main Hall Auditorium. The deadline for student registration is March 27. Kent campus students can submit their films in Franklin Hall from 5 to 8 p.m. that day.

“This is such a great opportunity for student to take advantage, not just film makers, but everyone,” Meinke said. “Take on a challenge because this is the time to do it.”

Contact Katie Paukst at [email protected].