Festival showcases local, innovative films

Jennifer Zemanek

Joe Culley, a local musican, provides sound effects to the movie Work at the 2nd Annual International Film Festival Saturday at the Kent Stage.

Credit: Beth Rankin

Ward Howarth’s Storm in a Bottle was the People’s Choice Award winner of the second annual Standing Rock International Short Film and Video Festival this weekend.

After the two-hour long festival, members of the audience cast their ballots for their favorite film. Howarth received the honor and an award from Standing Rock Cultural Arts Gallery.

About 160 people came to the festival Saturday despite the snowy weather conditions to see 23 short films ranging from 31 seconds to 17 minutes. The independent films, produced by both local and international filmmakers, differed in genre and subject matter.

Jeff Ingram, executive director of Standing Rock, said he was pleased with the number of people that turned out for the show.

Ingram said Howarth’s film hit deep down in people’s hearts. The film was innovative with beautiful music and gave people a look into interpersonal relationships, Ingram said. Any person who has ever been in a relationship can relate to the story of this film.

According to the festival’s program, Howarth’s Storm in a Bottle was a 16-minute film that illuminated the vulnerable moments that test and strengthen connections between people. The film is an intimate portrayal of two people trying to get to know one another.

“I voted for Storm in a Bottle because it was well planned and showed the most promise and artistic quality,” said Arlene Brokaw, senior broadcast journalism major. “It used black-and-white, 8-mm film. It wasn’t what most people are used to — seeing everything in color.”

Brokaw said she works with documentaries as part of her major, so she enjoyed seeing the creative differences in the production of the films.

“It was interesting to see all the differences such as the lengths or the use of animation,” Brokaw said.

It took an independent thinker to enter a film in the festival, Ingram said.

“People can get spoon-fed by Hollywood, but it’s refreshing to see new ideas,” Ingram said. “The live music that corresponded to the films also added another dimension to the films that some people haven’t had a chance to experience.

“This year’s festival had better quality films,” Ingram said. “I think people are more understanding of the technology, and it’s more accessible to just the common folks.”

Standing Rock Cultural Arts plans to hold the festival again next year.

Contact fine and professional arts reporter Jennifer Zemanek at [email protected].