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Davis, California

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Davis Film Festival back again for its 15th year

The event was held Nov. 5 at the Veterans Memorial Theatre and featured a myriad of films


By HANNAH SCHRADER — city@theaggie.org


The annual Davis Film Festival was held from 2-10 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Veterans Memorial Theatre. The festival featured a variety of films, some of which covered issues facing unhoused individuals in Sacramento, the harms of e-waste and bullying and the long ventures of a newly ordained minister.

According to Bazooka, a local vintage Americana musical duo, performed at 5:30 p.m. to provide entertainment to guests during the dinner break portion of the festival. The afternoon section of the festival was intended for general audiences but the evening content of the films transitioned to mature audiences only.

The Davis Film Festival director, Judith Plank, talked about the history behind the film fest as well as the local film scene in Davis.

“When I started in 2003, there was no film festival in town,” Plank said. “And now UC Davis has the Student Film Festival and then the Feminist Film Festival. But still, they just kept short films and small categories. I have feature films, short films, the whole thing — we have the niche.”

Plank has been writing and performing since she was 12. Since then she has won several awards in Northern California. She has experience volunteering for film festivals and has worked with the Davis Varsity Theatre.

“I was a volunteer at a couple of festivals in Berkeley for several years,” Plank said. “I loved it. We’d sit there for hours. You know, you volunteer, but then you sit there and you just watch all these films for hours and hours. It’s really a lot of fun. I was a volunteer for a couple [of] years, then I brought a film from Sundance to Varsity theater in April [of 2003] — and the place was packed. I mean, I packed the entire theater.”

The festival will also likely expand to have a reception and alcoholic beverages in future years as stated on this year’s festival event information page.

“NO ALCOHOL will be sold at the festival this year. (Next year we probably will have wine and beer, along with a reception/party),” the website reads.

This year, the festival gave out two “Audience Awards” for films that came in first and second place. Next year they will also add “Juried Awards.” The goal of the festival is to bring the film lovers of Davis together, according to their mission statement.

In recent years, the film festival also faced delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.

“You can’t say this is the 15th annual [festival] or anything like that, because with COVID, nothing’s annual anymore,” Plank said. “But anyway, we’ve been going for 15 years here.”
Laura Luke, a volunteer at the film festival, talked about her experience with the festival over the years.

“It is my fourth time [coming] to the Davis Film Festival,” Luke said. “I enjoy it every time [and] I have volunteered the last couple of times. It’s wonderful meeting the people who have worked on the films and those who are connected to their stories.”

Luke continued to speak about her experience with the local community.

“I also love meeting the people from Davis. I’m looking forward to next year and watching the festival grow along with the audience. Thank you to Judith for letting me be a part of the Davis Film Festival.”


Written by: Hannah Schrader city@theaggie.org



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