Standing Rock Film Festival kicks off Saturday night

Ben Plassard

When the Third Annual Standing Rock International Short Film and Video Festival takes over the Kent Stage Saturday night, short films and animations by artists will take the forefront.

Jeff Ingram, producer of the festival and director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, said this year’s participants are not motivated by the money-driven, Hollywood standard.

“They do it because they have creative urge,” Ingram said. “All of the filmmakers are very passionate about their craft.”

They’re almost as passionate as Ingram seems to be about bringing awareness of art to the Kent community.

“We want to build community through the arts,” Ingram said of Standing Rock Cultural Arts and its community involvement.

Ingram is on his way to doing just that as the film festival enters its third year, having moved from the Kiva to the Kent Stage due to rising attendance.

This year’s lineup is a mix of award-winning international and local talent. Entries come from as far as Russia and Australia and are as local as Cleveland and Kent.

The featured filmmaker is Robert Banks, a Cleveland native who has previously had his films shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Banks has won numerous awards for his work, most notably the Filmmaker of the Year at the Midwest Filmakers Conference in 2001. Banks also was honored at the BBC British Short Film Festival in London in 2000.

Banks’ use of film to capture light is what Ingram sees as setting him apart from today’s independent filmakers.

“His work is a mix of human interest and passionate filmaking where light is a character and the audience derives their own meaning,” Ingram said.

For the first part of the festival, the audience will view the films entered in the competition. Audience members will watch shorts and then vote for the winner.

Among the most anticipated of these shorts is Sonia’s Escape, a seven-minute piece by Russian filmmaker Andrei Bakhurin, who took second place at the festival in 2003.

Another piece comes from Australian animator Darcy Prendergast, whose award winning claymation piece Off the Rails runs only six minutes but took a year to complete.

Vince Packard, a Kent artist and festival veteran, has entered a film that truly demonstrates the originality of the festival.

His film Veruca Meets Bush is a three-minute Monty Python-style animation piece that features President Bush singing “I Want It Now” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, all mixed with the music of the heavy metal band Pantera.

When all of the digital films have been screened and a winner is selected, the films of Robert Banks will then be presented.

“It’s about the excitement of Do It Yourself,” said Ingram. “The festival is a celebration of creativity.”

Contact off-campus entertainment reporter Ben Plassard at [email protected]