A film festival for all University filmmakers and aficionados

The 24FPS Fest mixes student films with professional works to attract a diverse audience.

Where are the filmmakers at the University? We know they’re not in class because the University does not offer any film production classes.

Are they recording digital video in one of Rarig Center’s Studio B classes? Are they in the basement of Murphy Hall editing on one of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Apple G5 computers? Perhaps they are trying to stay awake in a two-hour film studies lecture in Folwell Hall. Or maybe, just maybe, they’re at the West Bank Auditorium on a Sunday night taking part in the only student film-production group at the University: the University Motion Picture Club.

But then again, maybe not.

The club has faced many challenges in surviving its first two semesters as a student organization. The most difficult of those challenges is keeping its member base alive. As with any new student organization, raising club awareness and building a member base is never an easy feat.

But with a two-fold strategy of production and exhibition – of getting cameras into the hands of as many students as possible and hosting a film festival to showcase their work – shouldn’t this suffice in addressing the lack of a film production program at the University?

So far, apparently not. Not only does the University still not offer a film production program, but the students involved in the club have encountered resistance as they try to pursue their passion on their own time.

With the stubbornness of Studio B to let club members use its equipment (even when told club members are currently enrolled in Studio B classes), as well as the veritable barricade built up around the journalism school’s Digital Media Studio, club members are instead forced to get equipment from members of the club who are enrolled at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Amazingly, those students can use their free rental privileges for us.

Which brings me to this weekend’s club event: The 24FPS Festival, where 24 film screenings over three days attempt to inform new students about the club.

Granted, it’s a challenge. With the enormous presence of Minnesota Film Arts’ Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival still being felt, as well as the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council’s own student film fest two weeks ago, you might be wondering: What is a struggling University-based film club to do when its own fest opens amid such a saturated market?

This year, my goal has been simple: Make the 24FPS better than any other student film festival in the area.

Starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the West Bank Auditorium, the 24FPS will highlight a mixture of locally and nationally produced student films, as well as a few professional independent features.

This makes the 24FPS a unique and vital festival in that it mixes student films with professional works to attract a diverse audience that cannot be found in the other professional or amateur festivals. We offer a mix of both. And unlike most festivals, the 24FPS also takes it a step further by hosting director and audience question and answer sessions following each film.

These films and these sessions are not only a good way of building a bridge to the local film community. They’re also a great way to give students a preview of what they can get from the motion picture club that they can’t get anywhere else at the University.

Corey Birkhofer is a University student and the founder and president of the University Motion Picture Club, which is sponsoring the 24FPS Fest this weekend.

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