GV Film Academy holds first annual film festival


Courtesy / GV Film Academy

Mary Racette

Student filmmakers at Grand Valley State University caught their chance to share their work on the big screen at the first annual Grand Valley Film Festival. Hosted by the Grand Valley Film Academy, the festival began on March 15 and ends March 21.

Students of all majors were asked to submit their best work from the last two years for the festival. Submitted films went through a moderation process, which consisted of a stoplight system created by head moderator Mitchel Dinsmoor. Films with discrimination, bias or slander were given the red light and were not allowed in the festival. The films that passed moderation were accepted into the festival and are eligible to be voted on by the panel of judges.  

Before the screening of each film, the student filmmaker introduced his or her work and held a quick question and answer session. The films played in a loop until the end of the hour. At the end of each loop, viewers will have a chance to vote on the film. The film with the most views choice ratings will win the Viewers Choice Award. 

This festival gave students the opportunity to submit work that they have already completed for either a class or for fun. Freshman film and video major Ethan Levine had two films accepted into the festival which were both originally class projects. He said he would recommend the experience to his peers, adding that the e-board of the film academy were very helpful and made the process easy.

The Grand Valley Film Academy was established as a student organization in March 2018, led by its president Kirie Quackenbush. She decided to bring the group to life after observing the lack of opportunities for arts students at career days and job fairs.  

“It pulls the art building out of its little corner and spreads it over the GVSU campus,” Quackenbush said. However, she said the festival was meant not only for filmmakers to share their work, but also for students outside of the arts programs to be exposed to different forms of creative expression. 

Quackenbush said the festival offers many opportunities for student to participate. While a majority of the filmmakers featured in the festival are film majors, all students were invited to submit as well as attend the screenings and the awards ceremony at the end of the week. 

“They get to see many different varying ideas of different students on campus represented by film and media,” Quackenbush said.

To kick off the festival on March 15, the Grand Valley Film Academy collaborated with Model Entertainment to host the Red Carpet Runway at the Cook-DeWitt Center on Allendale campus.  According to Quackenbush, the purpose of the event was to help people figure out what to wear for the award ceremony’s “dress to impress” theme.  

The GV Film Academy Awards will be held on March 22 at the DeVos Center’s Loosemore Auditorium on Pew campus. The 25 film entries will be competing for 17 different award categories. A winner will be chosen from each genre, including animation, fiction, experimental and more.