UIndy TV students in the University of Indianapolis communication department presented four original short films for the first-ever 317 Film Fest on Dec. 10. The four short films showcased were “Saxton Fell,” “No Distance,” “Voice of the Youth” and “It Is What It Is.” They all were written, directed and performed by current students with guest appearances.
The event included a behind-the-scenes video, a preview of the film and a question-and-answer session with the writer and director of each film. The event was catered by The Garfield Eatery. The film festival was directed and created by senior communication major Katy Sonksen.
“The goal in piloting this film festival is to foster the talent and creative process of students whose dreams are as big as movie theatre screens,” Sonksen said.
The first film featured was “No Distance,” which was written and directed by senior communication major Artemis Choungk. The film is a narrative about the relationship between main characters Artemis and Daniel, played by Morgan Jackson and Adam Williams.
“My long-distance relationship was my motivation in making this film,” Choungk said. “I deeply felt the distance, so I thought there would be nothing better than making this film.”
Williams said he was amazed by the films and thought the filmmakers did an amazing job. He also said that in order to get inspiration for his acting, he watched some of his favorite actors.
The second film showcased was a documentary called “Voice of the Youth.” The film was written by senior communication major Daviona Johnson. Johnson’s documentary was about Indy Pulse, a group that brings poetry into public schools. Indy Pulse founders were featured in the documentary, along with students of the program. Indy Pulse Co-Founder Lauren Hall said Indy Pulse gives young people multiple platforms to have a voice. Johnson said her motivation to make the documentary was her initial meeting with Hall.
Senior communication major Emily Morris wrote the third short film based on her boyfriend’s catchphrase, “It is what it is.” The topic of her film was racism. She said she hoped to raise awareness that racism still exists and that social change needs to happen. The main characters were Ava, played by Amy Shwartz, and Aiden, played by Jalil Stephens. Morris said that some of the events highlighted in her film were taken from real-life experiences that she has had with her African-American boyfriend and with an interracial couple from her hometown.
“It’s up to the society, and it’s up to the people [to end racism],” Morris said.
The final film was directed, animated and written by sophomore communication major Dylan Listner. His animated film took place in the perspective of a first-person shooter in the online multiplayer universe of “Team Fortress 2.” The film is a mystery intended for the audience to figure out. Listner said one scene took him three days, with others varying from one to two days.
Sonksen said that she thought the film festival was a huge success that really exceeded her expectations.
“It is a dream come true,” she said. “I’m almost in tears. This was bigger than I ever could have imagined it could be. I’m absolutely floored that this many people showed up, that we had this much support.”