Saturday, June 15, 2024

MSU students showcase their film at Lansing's Capital City Film Festival

April 14, 2023
Dozens gather for the Capital City Film Festival on April 7, 2023 for the showing of Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out.
Dozens gather for the Capital City Film Festival on April 7, 2023 for the showing of Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out.

The Frandor Sears building was transformed into an entertainment venue Thursday night for the Capital City Film Festival’s Fortnight Film Contest

The event showcased 24 films. The opening film of the night was "Coffee for One" — a story produced by a team of five Michigan State University students.

The contest was open to all filmmakers in Michigan. Filmmakers were given two weeks to entirely shoot, edit and produce their films. To ensure that all contestants follow the timeline perimeters, filmmakers were given three elements to include in their film: the phrase of dialogue "wonderful and wild," a flickering light and a coffee shop

"Coffee for One" was the group's first time submitting a film to the contest. Digital storytelling junior Reese Anulewicz served as the director and writer of the film. She said the story is about a girl who discovers that "dating isn’t everything."

“We wanted to tell a story about a girl looking for more than a relationship,” Aunulewicz said. “She goes on this date, and she's looking forward to it, but she has been let down by her past relationships, or her past dates. By the end, her friend texts her when she goes out and her perspective changes about everything.” 

Journalism and digital storytelling junior Subah Bhatia, who worked on audio for the film, said the contest offers the chance for filmmakers to see what everyone in the community is making

Digital storytelling junior and editor of the film Ryan Weir said the biggest challenge of the contest was finding a way to incorporate the three given elements into the story. He said their group accomplished this by talking about broad concepts, then writing the elements into the story in a way that the group liked

“It's a surreal experience," digital storytelling senior Sofia Aguirre said. "Like, oh my god, we're not just doing student films, it's actually happening ... It's a fun experience." 

Festival manager Emma Selby encourages filmmakers to enter the contest in the future, regardless of prior experience or skill level. The contest is an opportunity for filmmakers to network with each other, she said.

“It’s like the push to do something; if you've had an idea in your brain for a while or you want to try something new, this is a really good way to do it," Selby said. "We run it every year.” 

Even if the film ends up being "not the most polished product," she said, the audience still loves to see it.

$5,000 in prizes were awarded to filmmakers in a ceremony that followed. The audience voted on two "audience choice" awards and a panel of judges selected the best three films of the night

The Capital City Film Festival will continue through Saturday, April 15. Information about the festival and ticket reservations can be found on the festival’s website. 

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