Local, international filmmakers get exposure

Kelly Petryszyn

Briar Rantilla, a Kent State alumnus, is one of three directors showing a film at the Standing Rock Film Festival tomorrow night at the Kent Stage. Rantilla’s film is a music video filled with a collage of dark, surreal images. Elizabeth Myers | Daily Ken

Credit: Ron Soltys

The Standing Rock Film Festival

Time: Friday, January 25, 8 p.m.

Place: The Kent Stage

Price: $10, $7 with student ID.

Buttery popcorn, dim lights, booming sound. A trip to the local theater to see the

latest drama or action-packed blockbuster is always a satisfying experience.

Even though big-budget movies featuring Oscar-winning actors does it for most people, a small-budget independent film can be just as pleasing and a refreshing break from the average Hollywood hit. The Standing Rock Film Festival is an opportunity to experience film as more than something to entertain a crowd on a Friday night.

The fifth Annual Standing Rock International Short Film Festival takes place at 8 p.m. Friday at the Kent Stage. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $7 for students. With an eclectic mix of short films from all over the world, Standing Rock showcases the diversity and creativity of many independent filmmakers. Today’s technology makes it very easy for people to watch movies on their computers for free, said Mike Hovancsek, director of the festival, so the people at Standing Rock wanted showcase rare elements that cannot be seen in the multiplex theater or on a computer screen.

“There are so many different ways to approach film as a creative medium,” Hovancsek said. This festival displays the use of film not as only a type of entertainment, but also an art form. He said that “there are so many ways to visually represent an idea.”

The producer of the festival, Jeff Ingram, said the innovative nature of the festival is “a fun and exciting way to see new work go beyond what is seen on television.”

One part of the festival features American and International films alike. Julia Pott, who is from England, did a playful piece titled My First Crush, which is people’s stories of their first crushes set to animation. Also internationally, the award-winning film is featured by Canadian Grace Channer, But Some Are Brave is an animation that took 15 years to make.

This festival offers “an opportunity for independent filmmakers to show their films to the public,” Ingram said.

One of these filmmakers, Briar Rantilla, is a Kent State graduate whose film Captured is a music video to the title song by the band Rebreather. In the four-and-a-half minute long video, cut out images rapidly speed across the screen as time moves and the music grows heavier in intensity. Rantilla described the experience of the film as “history flying at you.” He approached the video from a painter’s perspective, and drew from abstract images. Barley Rantilla, Briar’s brother and a member of the band Rebreather, explains the song as “thinking through the happier moments of your life.”

Also from the Kent area, videographer Carl Palmer, has a film in the festival titled Bug Out. This is a collection of government footage from atomic bomb tests edited to the song “Bug Out,” which Palmer recorded himself, and describes as “visual electro freestyle.”

Another segment to the festival is a film by the featured filmmaker Dustin Grella, who impressively won both the “Best of the Fest” award, which is the director’s pick, and “People’s Choice” award, the audience’s pick, last year at Standing Rock. He produced the ground-breaking film, Glimpse by drawing on a chalkboard, and then animating those drawings.

Hovancsek describes this film as “visually compelling and moving” yet technologically primitive at the same time. Grella managed to create a cutting-edge film by using one of the simplest methods-chalkboard animations.

The last segment of the festival is presented in an incredibly unique manner. Hovancsek will show two of his own silent films set to live music performed by The Root Doctor’s Revenge. He is a psychotherapist, so his films are based on psychological disorders. The first film, Dismorphic, shows a dancer through a warped piece of glass to demonstrate the distorted perception individuals with the disorder have, he said. His second film, My Life with Attention Deficit Disorder, pulses 1,000 images at the viewer in only two minutes.

This festival sets aside the norm for a night, and presents the unfamiliar. “We are used to orienting ourselves with what should be (and this festival) challenges our preconceived notions,” Hovancsek said.

Contact all reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].