Bucknell University students to host film festival on April 28

Apr. 21—LEWISBURG — Students from the Film/Media Studies Program at Bucknell University are organizing the 2024 Bucknell International Collegiate Film Festival on April 28.

The festival will take place at 7 p.m. April 28, at the Campus Theatre, 413 Market St., Lewisburg. The Film/Media Studies Program, also known as Film Exhibition and Programing or ENFS 254, selected 12 films from 100 submissions.

"A total of 107 eligible submissions have been received, totaling a runtime of 12 hours, 34 minutes, and 47 seconds," said Gana Mukhtar, a senior at Bucknell University from Linden, N.J., who is majoring in film/media studies with a minor in management. "Currently, the 14 students in the class are in the process of reviewing all submissions to curate a final program lasting approximately 80 minutes. These submissions represent 27 colleges/universities."

The course, taught by Professor Rebecca Meyers, delves into the history of programming and exhibition. The culmination of the course involves applying the learned material to organize a student film festival at the Campus Theatre. Under the guidance of Meyers, class participants take charge of all aspects of the event, including selecting the films as well as planning the event and generating press and publicity, said Mukhtar.

Mukhtar is part of the programming, publicity, and events committees. The class of 14 is comprised of Bucknell University students ranging from freshmen to seniors. While a majority are film students, there are also students from various other majors in the class. There are no enrollment restrictions, allowing students from diverse backgrounds to participate, she said.

"The festival is a recurring, biannual event, and an integral component of ENFS 254 (which is offered every two years)," said Mukhtar. "Professor Meyers designed the class when she came to Bucknell, in order to merge and share her professional experience and interest in independent film exhibition with students, giving them a hands-on opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in the class to the organization of a student film festival at the Campus Theatre."

The festival showcases films made by students while enrolled at any Pennsylvania college or university. There is no submission fee and all submitted films were watched in full by members of the pre-screening committee, said Mukhtar.

"There are four committees, composed of students in the class," she said. "The pre-screening committee, the programming committee (which all students are part of), the publicity committee and the events committee. All students are on at least two committees, some are on three."

Once a film receives two high scores from the pre-screening committee, it's reviewed by the entire class, who collectively make a decision. Following the screening, there will be a director Q&A session with attending directors; awards ceremony, including an audience favorite determined by ballots and a jury favorite award that is chosen by the class beforehand; and a reception. The director Q&A will be moderated by a student, with each student preparing a question in case the audience has few inquiries. Winners will receive trophies, said Mukhtar.

Films or videos eligible for submission must have been created while the filmmaker was an undergraduate student at any Pennsylvania college/university. The festival accepts films of up to 15 minutes in length, covering any genre or subject matter. Each filmmaker may submit only one entry. The deadline for submissions was March 25, said Mukhtar.

"Watching student films, especially with the filmmakers who made them, is one of the most fun experiences you can have in a theater," said Jamie Granato, a junior who serves on the festival's events and pre-screener committees. "There's this really unique and exciting energy watching the hard work of your peers and seeing how they're growing as artists, completely different from watching a feature film from big studios and directors. And I can say personally, the chance to see your film in a venue and on a screen as stunning and huge as The Campus Theatre is an opportunity that not a lot of student filmmakers have, which makes the festival really special."

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Concessions will be available during the festival.