By Wesley Kirk
On the evening of Saturday, May 3rd, in the UNT's RTVF building, the line for the UNT Short Film Club Spring 2014 screening took up the entire lobby. Over a hundred students and family members gathered to watch the short films produced by the only student organization at the University of North Texas that produces narrative films outside the classroom.
Every semester, students pitch ideas for short films, and the members of the club vote on the best ideas to go into production. This all leads to three individual 10 minute films. The entire crew is comprised of UNT students and alumni, from wildly different backgrounds. All of whom are interested in learning more about film-making. The films are shot on a RED Scarlet Digital Cinema camera, donated by a local filmmaker, and are often paid for by Kickstarter campaigns.
This year, we had a wonderful assortment of films, including a sci-fi drama, a family comedy, and mixed media drama. Juniper (embedded below), tells the story of a girl attempting to save her grandmother from the government’s population control, which features impressive special effects and wonderful performances from Amanda Reyes & Juli Erickson. The Regal Saxton is a screwball comedy about an unusual family tradition: the night before the son’s wedding, the Barrow family robs The Regal Saxton bank. #SavingScott is a fast-paced mixed media montage in which a YouTube celebrity lies about having cancer.
Also screened were the winners of the filmmaking contests. In an effort to encourage students to make more films for themselves, the UNT Short Film Club has increasingly challenging film-making contests throughout the semester, ranging from simple Instagram videos to narrative shorts. Arielle Engle won Best Instagram Video for “Lipstick” about a femme fatale with a twist. German Torres won Best Documentary with “Spinning Fire” a spontaneous documentary about a guy who gets through the stress of the day by spinning fire. Amanda Reyes won Best Non-Sync Sound for her touching, poetic short “Dear Brother” about correspondence with her brother during his time in prison. John Brodie won Best Narrative with “The Woman In White”, an enigmatic film about a woman gone missing.
Due to a technical difficulty, Juniper was unable to screen that night, but a screening of a rough cut of Remoriam more than made up for it. Remoriam, an ambitious short film about a technology that can capture a single moment of your life exactly the way you experienced it, should be finalized soon. The film had the entire audience in tears, thanks to Zion Szot’s brilliant performance as Sam, a terminally ill young girl struggling to decide the perfect moment to capture.
The night concluded with the new president and vice president of Short Film Club surprising those present with a secret video they had been making all semester. Said video featured members of Short Film Club talking about how I had helped them as filmmakers and how much Short Film Club means to them. It was an emotional night, and a very touching way to end my career as president and founder of Short Film Club.
Here's the short film, Juniper, embedded below!
Wesley Kirk is a recent graduate of UNT having majored in Film with a perspective that we can't get enough of. He is the owner and founder of The Vision Beautiful, Click Clack Short Films, People of Denton and just finished his presidency of UNT's Short Film Club. He is one busy dude to say the least. Catch him if you can running around campus with a camera of sorts strapped to his hand headed to his next adventure.