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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Preparing for the annual Davis Film Festival

The Davis Film Festival is back for its ninth year. However, the game has changed. This time around, the event becomes competitive. An event that usually showcases talent through short films and features, the Davis Film Festival now boasts an edgy element.

Taking place Apr. 5 to 7, the weekend kicks off with a free showing of Thrive by Foster Gamble and free cake at Opening Night Festival Preview Party on the first day. Friday and Saturday’s festivities take place at the Veterans’ Memorial Theatre.

Festival Director Judith Plank worked with what she calls a “screening committee” to determine the films that make the final cut for the festival. “[The committee] weeds out the films that are clearly not acceptable. [They] then give me the remaining films. I look at all of those and make the final screening decisions,” Plank said. “Sometimes I look at all of the films, though, depending on how much time we have.”

What makes this year so different, though, is that awards will be handed out, making the event more interesting and aggressive. The categories include “Best Feature,” “Best Short” and “Audience Award.” Each winning film receives a certificate and a prize from one of three local businesses.

“We are going competitive because most film festivals are. It’s nice to win things for work well done,” Plank said. “I believe that it makes the films that win Academy Award potential.”

A three-day event every single year, Davis Film Festival also brings one more new aspect to the weekend: musical performers.

“We don’t have anyone booked yet, so here’s [someone’s] chance for stardom,” Plank said. “Next year at our 10th Anniversary Gala Film Festival, we want tons of musicians.”

In addition to hosting a variety of comedians, musicians and bands, this festival showcases an assortment of films including documentaries, narratives, features, shorts, experimental and animation. Each section of the festival has its own theme: Friday is an artsy and edgy night, Saturday afternoon includes the short films and Saturday night is Human Rights Night.

This year the promotion is “Seven dollars, 11 hours, 21 Filmmakers Compete for Three Top Prizes!”

“We’re competitive at last, and we’re only charging seven dollars for everyone as a way to thank the Davis community for its support over the years,” Plank said.

Plank recommends putting the dates of the festival on the calendar and checking the website on Mar. 15 when the films will be listed and the schedule is posted. She also recommends buying tickets online and showing up without any research of the films or filmmakers.

Plank is also in need of a student intern to go through press kits of the winning films and pick digital photos to distribute to the media.

To get in contact with Judith Plank, to get involved or to find out more information about Davis Film Festival, email davisfilmfest@gmail.com or visit davisfilmfest.org.

ELIZABETH ORPINA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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