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Sunday, July 21, 2024

A review of the UC Davis Film Festival

What do a ball of clay, a dog named Ollie and a young man running through a cornfield have in common? All were subjects in short films at the 10th annual Davis Film Festival, which took place both May 26 and May 27 at the Varsity Theater.

Composed entirely of student submissions, the film festival was just under two hours with films that ran from two to 10 minutes long. While some of the films took on more cryptic and politically conscious themes, others were lighthearted and fun, shot at locations that many Davisites could easily recognize. Some films were almost entirely dialogue driven; others had no dialogue.

One of the films used clips from Toddlers and Tiaras, Little Miss Perfect, and other online film archives to create a shocking mosaic of U.S. beauty pageants and their utilization of young girls’ bodies.

Another film followed a clay blob’s journey to happiness. In “Ollie Goes to Davis,” a puppy wakes up in his owner’s bed, sneaks out with the car keys once his owner has left for the day, and surreptitiously drives the car to the UC Davis campus where he ventures through the arboretum, the Death Star and other Davis hot spots. Finally he drives home at the end of the day and goes back to bed where his owner returns and sees that the little angel has been there “all along.”

Another memorable film was a parody of “The Office.” With our very own UC Davis Bookstore serving as the premises for the Michael Scott Paper Company, the characters lived up to their “Office” counterparts, providing us with laudable performances by a pseudo Dwight Shrewd, Michael Scott and slightly dopier version of Jim. The plotline unfortunately was disrupted by technical glitches in the film reel, but the viewable portions were enjoyable.

Varsity Theater was a great venue to theatrically present work that has not been widely released yet. There was something a bit surreal, albeit refreshing and organic, to see recognizable places and faces on the big-screen. It localized the whole movie theater experience while allowing students to showcase their myriad film-making styles.

With short films that are “indie,” silent, comical, animated, or composed entirely of clips and slides, the Davis Film Festival displayed the work of Davis students that each has their own cinematic vision.

ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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