What: 12th annual UC Davis Film Festival
When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday
Where: Varsity Theatre, 616 Second St., downtown Davis
Tickets: $7, or $10 for a two-night pass
View past years’ winning films: http://theatredance.ucdavis.edu/season/videos.aspx
By Janice Bisgaard
Film festival adviser and art studio professor Darrin Martin says there is much for audiences to be excited about as student work continues to grow in both quantity and quality.
“Student enthusiasm for more sophisticated approaches to expressing themselves through filmmaking is on the rise as they strive to master the language of a media-saturated culture,” he said.
“Curiosity for the voices of tomorrow’s storytellers, animators and moving image makers should be the motivating factor to get the public out for two evenings of entertaining and thought-provoking works.”
This year’s submissions include a mockumentary about a washed-up child star, a comedy where three 20-somethings attain mundane abilities after eating a very old casserole, an existential drama about a woman struggling with her life’s purpose, an animated action hero adventure and a documentary about finding the perfect bone marrow donor.
The films undergo a rigorous selection process to determine which make it to the festival screening.
Anna Hossnieh, the 2011 winner for best documentary, “Standing Compassion,” has partnered with 2010 winner Meredith Sward (best experimental film, “Oh Dear”) in a joint 2012 submission of “The Irrelevant and Shallow Life of Birdie Peacock.” This mockumentary concerns a has-been child star and the filmmaker who struggles to make a movie out of her life.
Michael Figlock has entered the existential drama “Satisfaction” on behalf of the Filmmakers’ Ambitions Club. It follows a woman’s disorienting journey as she is thrown into other people’s daily routines and struggles to cope with the demands asked of her in each of these scenarios.
In Kealani Kitaura’s animated submission “Journey,” the audience travels with a superhero who is followed by mischievous objects, including a stuffed devil-bear and fold-up camping chair, into a magical land where the moon replaces the sun and pink mountains line the horizon.
Ngoc Le, lead student producer of the festival, has submitted her documentary, “A Perfect Match,” about Janet Liang, a UCLA student suffering from leukemia, and her journey to find a perfect bone marrow match. The film was inspired by Le’s own recent struggle.
“When I was diagnosed with a lifelong autoimmune disease last fall, I was told that I might eventually need a bone marrow transplant,” Le said. “During my treatment, I became inspired upon reading media accounts of Janet’s story.
“Her YouTube cry for help brought me to tears because she only had a few months to live and that made me think ‘that could have been me or that will be me one day.’ I hope my film will somehow encourage more people to participate in the bone marrow drive to save her life as soon as possible.”
In addition to Le, the festival is directed by three UCD faculty members: professors Sarah Pia Anderson and Jesse Drew, cinema and technocultural studies, and professor John Iacovelli, theater and dance. These producers serve as advisers along with other UCD faculty: Darrin Martin, art studio; Jaimey Fisher, cinema and technocultural studies and German; Maggie Morgan, theater and dance; Pablo Ortiz, music; and Julie Wyman, cinema and technocultural studies.
These faculty members are professionals in film, television and new media who offer feedback to the student filmmakers. The student production team includes technical director Todd Kaiser and producers Michelle Rossi and Sharon Gonzales.