Sunday, 7:30 p.m., free
Freedom of expression is no strange topic, but sometimes finding a medium to share something you’re passionate about doesn’t always come very easily.
Robotmedia is a short film showcase on campus that not only allows for this but also strongly encourages it. The next showcase will take place Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in 194 Chemistry. The event is free.
Robotmedia began in Berkeley and spread to college campuses in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Seattle and Davis. The Davis chapter began in 2002 and is currently the only active one since 2006. Showcases are typically held once a quarter.
In its early days in Davis, Robotmedia was wildly popular, forcing those in charge to turn people away in line. However, in the past couple of years, those hundreds of attendees have turned into about 50 or so, making the impact much different than it used to be.
Despite the dwindling turnout, the core philosophy behind Robotmedia is still in place.
“The best part of Robotmedia is that there are no restrictions. It is free creative expression,” former Davis Robotmedia president Andrew Cholerton said in an e-mail interview.
Robotmedia is unique in that absolutely anyone can submit a film and everything is accepted. The only rule is that films are submitted as playable DVDs.
The suggested length for film submissions is five minutes long to “keep the variety running,” said Brianna Aalborg-Volper, a senior psychology and art studio double major and current president of the Davis chapter. Films that exceed this time limit are shown at the end of the showcase.
Robotmedia also represents a completely non-judgmental and accepting environment to share and experience creativity and really tries to accommodate every one, Aalborg-Volper said.
“This is an uncensored showcase, and so our main goal really is just to have people who want to show their art or anything they’ve been working on and get feedback for free,” she said.
After the film screenings, the themes for the following showcase are decided on through a public forum of sorts – audience members shout out possible ideas, which are then collected on the chalkboard. Aalborg-Volper explained that the winning idea is selected through “a clap-o-meter process.“
The chosen themes are all over the place in their degree of seriousness, creativity and hilarity. Some previous themes have included “Bears and Chuck Norris,” “Nuclear Winter and Music Videos” and “Survival and Facial Hair.” Anything can happen and the window for experimentation is left wide open.
“It’s the surprise. Each quarter there’s always some wacky juxtaposition of two random themes and just seeing how people run with that is really intriguing for me,” Aalborg-Volper commented.
Films don’t necessarily have to adhere to these themes. Mostly the themes are put in place to help inspire filmmakers who might not know what they want to do yet, Aalborg-Volper said.
“I think [Robotmedia] is really important just because some of the most entertained and inspired people that’ll see your work are other students,” said Kevin Okulolo, a senior psychology and art studio double major who participated in the fall quarter showcase with an animated film. “It’s really cool to have a forum to show your work to people who will appreciate it most. It’s just a big open canvas.“
For more information, visit the Robotmedia page on Facebook or e-mail Aalborg-Volper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ELENA BUCKLEY can be reached at email@example.com.