Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Reel Misfits: The First Annual Student Film Festival at North Carolina Wesleyan College

This post originally appeared on the LAIP in June 2016.


by Ian Boucher

Hello everyone! My name is Ian Boucher, and I’m currently the Emerging Technologies and Outreach Librarian at North Carolina Wesleyan College. Every now and again I will be sharing my experiences supporting student and faculty inspiration through the college’s library. A great place to start is an event from the spring of 2016—the first annual film festival held at the college, conceived, organized, and implemented by the student Film Club.

The Film Club was officially started in Fall 2015. I have had the privilege of serving as its advisor, and it continues to be an incredible experience. While I had been in the early stages of working with the college to get a campus TV station off the ground, it was the Film Club that truly got media going on campus. It has been amazing to see the club utilize the library’s media production lab and meeting spaces to serve the college community each time its members hone their skills through club workshops, peer guidance in the use of media, and filming events around campus.

As is filmmaking’s wont, especially in a college environment, where students participate based on their own spare time and interest, the 2015-2016 year was challenging for the Film Club, from technical difficulties to scheduling issues, but the club concluded its year tremendously with the Reel Misfits Film Festival, sharing its initials with our college’s city, Rocky Mount. My job was to support and encourage the club’s members in bringing their voices from script to screen through the library’s resources and what insights I could provide.


At the end of Fall 2015, the President and Vice President of the club told me that they wanted to hold an event at the end of Spring 2016 promoting filmmaking in the area. I met with the club several times over the next few months as its members worked out submission categories and guidelines, as well as the marketing on social media, around campus (including the library of course), and talking to professors about offering their students extra credit for submitting a film. The club independently secured a campus auditorium with a work-study student to operate the projector, as well as a campus photo background, popcorn machine, and filmstrip decorations, and bought snacks and even red carpets and Oscar statuettes through the club budget. The festival was open to any student of North Carolina Wesleyan College. There was initially a small fee to enter, but it was ultimately waived to boost participation.

The club secured four judges, pictured below—Theatre professor Brooke Edwards, English professor Dr. Steven Ferebee, Admissions Counselor David Williams, and Director of Bands Tony Sawyer—and created surveys to get feedback about the judges’ experiences.


The event was an absolute joy. It was so wonderful to be there as casts, crews, friends, and our uplifting provost Dr. Michael Brown—pictured below with Secretary Grace Lee, Vice President Sidney McCall, President Shayne DeWitt, and go-to sound and camera operator Isbi Malla (yes, Isbi is wearing the official club T-shirt!)—gathered together to enjoy the work of the students that year.


After a hanging out on the red carpet where attendees could enjoy snacks, mingling, and pictures, the club gathered everyone into the auditorium, and after a welcome to all in attendance, six short films were screened, with a member of each production saying a few words of introduction. The judges then assembled privately, and took to the stage to present the awards.


The films:

While not as many students submitted films to the festival as hoped (although there were a few unfinished ones that were not able to be screened), this event was nevertheless a lot of fun, and a critical part of any media production program. Moreover, this particular culmination was representative of an invaluable maiden voyage that provided its members hands-on media experience to inform further exploration of ideas in enriching the club, the college community, and, most importantly, the local arts through media—and I can’t wait to be there to support it with the rest of the college from the library.

Follow the club on Facebook, Instagram, and of course, YouTube! There’s going to be plenty more media where this came from!



Ian Boucher_Bio pictureIan Boucher has a background in television production, film studies, and communication theory, and earned his Master of Library and Information Science at Kent State University to become a librarian to advocate for information literacy. His primary research interests include the roles of motivation in information seeking behavior and the roles of film and superhero comic books in cultural discourse. Continue the conversation with him on Twitter @Ian_Boucher

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