Tuesday, 29 December 2015 13:19

Hitchcock/Truffaut screening at UICA; Kalamazoo Public Library’s Teen Filmmaker Festival Turns 13

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Hitchcock/Truffaut Hitchcock/Truffaut

While it’s been 35 years since his death, Alfred Hitchcock is still the critics’ darling.

If you browse any “greatest films in cinema history” list you’re bound to find Psycho and Vertigo peppered alongside others.

Another influential filmmaker, Francois Truffaut, can be found on the same lists. His film The 400 Blows ended up becoming a defining film for the French New Wave and his advocating of the auteur theory helped revolutionize film theory.

In 1962, both filmmakers walled themselves up together for a week of conversations and interviews, resulting in the book Hitchcock/Truffaut. This book would inspire a whole new generation of filmmakers, including Kent Jones, director of the new documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut.

The documentary, which brings the book of the same name to life, features archived audio and photographs from Hitchcock and Truffaut’s weeklong conversation on the art of cinema. It also features interviews with successful filmmakers such as David Fincher, Martin Scorsese and Richard Linklater, all explaining the impact both directors had on them.

A seminal film for anyone who’s a fan of cinema history, Hitchcock/Truffaut screens Jan. 15-28 at the UICA in downtown Grand Rapids.

For a list of show times, visit uica.org/movies.

Kalamazoo Public Library’s Teen Filmmaker Festival Turns 13

It’s that special time of year again when people all over the world start tackling their lists of New Year’s resolutions.

Maybe the goal is to lose 20 pounds or to skydive, or maybe even to win an award at a film competition. Okay, so that last goal may sound a little lofty, but if you happen to be a Michigan resident between the ages of 12-19 itching to enter a film competition, you may be in luck.

The Kalamazoo Public Library is currently accepting entries for its 2016 Teen Filmmakers Festival. This year, the festival itself turns 13 and Andrea Vernola, Lead Librarian for Teen Services at KPL, said it’s grown quite a bit since its inception in 2002.

“Our first year we had a handful of people on site at our Central Library and in 2015 we had 500 at Chenery Auditorium. So it’s really grown quite a bit,” Vernola said. “When we first started, submissions were limited to local Kalamazoo teens but we now get submissions from across the state, including the UP.”

There’s a good reason so many people have an interest in the event – not only are the awards for each category enticing (past awards included items from theater gift cards all the way to Apple laptops), but some of their past winners have even gone on to work in Hollywood and advertising.

All films must be under 10 minutes and created by teens ages 12 through 19 who currently reside in Michigan. Adult talent may appear in the film but cannot help with the actual production of the movie. Oh, and sorry guys, but no blooper reels. Vernola explained that such a broad set of rules helps to ensure diversity in programming.

“We see a little bit of everything,” Vernola said. “The movies run the gamut from comedy, drama, science fiction, romance and horror — sometimes all in the same film.”

Prizes will be awarded for eight different categories, including best cinematic merit, best short film and, of course, a grand prize for the best overall film. In addition, audiences will have a chance to vote for their favorite film to win the People’s Choice Award.

All films must be submitted to the Teen Services Desk at the central library no later than Jan. 30 to be considered for the festival.

“Once the deadline ends, representatives from all of the sponsoring agencies — us at the library, Public Media Network, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Campaign Pictures — get together and watch all of the movies back-to-back,” Vernola said. “Each film is given a weighted score and the top films are selected for viewing at the festival. The films are selected based on a wide range of criteria, including (but not limited to) technical skill, story, cinematography and sound.”

In addition, a panel of judges made up of local industry professionals and film experts scores each entry.

Don’t have the equipment to make a film? No worries — the Kalamazoo Public Library has you covered. Services at the library include access to the HUB, a computer lab filled with video, audio and photo editing software and equipment.

“The increase in technology and availability of cheap technology means that films look much better and are more polished than they were 13 years ago,” Vernola pointed out.

All of the students’ hard work and editing will pay off on Feb. 20 when chosen entries will be screened for free at Chenery Auditorium, with an awards presentation following.

For more information on the 13th Annual Teen Filmmakers Fest, visit kpl.gov/teens.


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