Thriller, romance and suspense: a look at this year’s student film festival

MinneCinema Studios hosted a film festival to showcase student filmmakers on Friday.

by Maraya King

Emoji-faced serial killers, Shakespearean love sagas and a remake of a 1980s music video — this is just a sampling of the movies debuted at the MinneCinema film festival. 

On Friday, MinneCinema Studios, a student group at the University of Minnesota, hosted their annual film festival to celebrate the accomplishments of college students in filmmaking. 

The festival showed 13 different films varying in length, two of which were animations. One of the animations lasted less than a minute and featured a nightmare come to life when a student sitting in class suddenly became a bright red satanic-looking cartoon. 

Co-president Andrew Schmidt said the club is for those who have a shared interest in film to learn from each other and work together. 

Schmidt, a senior in marketing, first started making films on his flip phone as a kid. He didn’t have the opportunity to get into filmmaking in high school, which led him to the club on campus, he said. 

Most of the students in the club use film equipment through their classes at the University or rent equipment from the Rarig Center, Schmidt said. 

Katherine Schomas, co-president and junior studying film, said this club helped her launch her career in freelance filmmaking. 

“The club is actually helping me work on my senior thesis right now,” Schomas said. 

Noah Causey, a student and filmmaker at the University, had the longest film of the night at 15 minutes. The film traveled through three of Shakespeare’s plays: “Henry IV,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” all of which were performed in the Globe Theater. 

The theater is located in London, where Causey studied abroad last semester, shooting the entire film on his iPhone. 

With around 15-20 dedicated members, MinneCinema is a close-knit group and always looking for ways to help each other out while sharing a passion. The club worked together on a variety of short films for this year’s festival, but almost all fell under one theme: thriller. 

Georgia Conrad’s film “The Game” was a clear favorite featuring a twisted killer, a vulnerable woman and just a roll of the dice between her life and death. 

Conrad created her movie for an assignment in which students were supposed to mimic the “suspense” genre, she said.

The common denominator for all of these filmmakers? They started young. 

Matthew Buzalewski, a freshman studying cinema, said his passion for film started at an early age. 

“When I was little, I would make movies with my siblings … they were amateur films and really bad, but we loved doing them.” 

Megan Greseth, a sophomore at the University, also started early. 

“I grew up when Disney Channel was at its prime,” Greseth said. “I would write myself into the Cheetah Girls script.” 

Greseth starred in this year’s film festival as a birthday girl whose surprise party went horribly wrong. 

Buzalewski worked with Ethan Lachinski, a freshman also studying cinema, on multiple projects this year, including the club film Greseth starred in. 

Lachinski, and avid youtuber, also created a parody of a 1950s public service announcement warning against the dangers of “sugar water.” 

His film featured a seemingly innocent boy enjoying an entire liter of A&W root beer while a hooded figure, possibly his mother or a nutritionist, loomed in the background. 

Whether it’s acting, screenwriting, producing or something in between — there’s never a dull moment for MinneCinema Studios.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated what Greseth’s major is.