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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Davis’ 16th Annual Film Festival to be held at Varsity Theatre


Two nights of local filmmakers’ work showcased

The Film Festival Club at UC Davis will be hosting its 16th annual film festival this Wednesday and Thursday at Varsity Theatre downtown, showcasing some of Davis’ most talented filmmakers.

For an hour each night, the festival will show a collection of films from a variety of genres, all of which share a common feature: of the 35 submissions, only 20 were selected by the jury comprised of design and art department faculty.

Though the Film Festival Club hosts various events and fundraisers throughout the year, this is the most notable culmination of its efforts. Head student producer of the festival and third-year English and film studies major Allison Dorantes reflected on the excitement of the evening.

“The atmosphere is really great,” Dorantes said. “We get to be at this small, locally-owned theatre for two nights of the year.”

But hosting the festival at the Varsity isn’t the only demonstration of its prioritization of local and student work. There will also be a raffle (winners announced at the end of Thursday) that boasts gift baskets and gift cards from local Davis businesses. The tight-knit community extends to that of the filmmakers as well.

The festival’s social media manager, third-year statistics major David Fung, highlighted the festival’s priority on showcasing UC Davis students and recent graduates’ work.

“Because any student or recent graduate can submit a film, the festival becomes a rare and direct showcase of stories that our fellow Aggies want to tell,” Fung said. “Films that come into the festival are diverse and unique, mirroring our student body and campus community.”

Though the films shown range from documentaries to satire and comedies to experimental works, any attendee can enjoy the films.

“The result is a festival showing some of the most unfiltered and independent work on a big screen,” Fung said. “Coupled with the fact that this is a student-run event, the festival is a celebration of talents and diversity in our community.”

But more importantly, the festival is an opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work and receive feedback during the Q&A session held after the showings.

“The film festival is one of the grooviest events of the year for students within the realm of TCS/CDM [Cinema and Digital Media], among other departments, to share their projects with the larger Davis community,” said returning film-submitter and second-year technocultural studies major Dakota Hill.

For Hill, however, the most exciting part of the festival is experiencing others’ work in addition to sharing his own.

“There’s something really fulfilling about sharing you and your peers’ work with other students. I really look forward to seeing what the other filmmakers on campus have been up to.”

This year, three of Hill’s films will be showcased at the festival, including Race Against Time, All I Can Say is Thank You, and 牛の風景 – cow scenery. For his most unique submission, 牛の風景 – cow scenery, Hill hopes all viewers will have a similar reaction to that of his classmate’s peer review: “I dare anyone who finishes watching this film to not stare at their pulsating palms, and feel sick at the realization of our innate fleshiness. Because if anything, the film is simply horrific.”

Tickets for the festival will be sold at the door — $7 for one night or $10 for both. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Check out the open application to become involved in the Film Festival Club at next year’s festival.


Written by: Ally Overbay – arts@theaggie.org


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