The University of California, Santa Barbara Film and Media Studies Department hosted the Reel Loud Film Festival this past Friday, May 27 at Campbell Hall. A student-run festival, Reel Loud has entertained students with an annual showcase for 25 years. The lineup included 12 silent films accompanied by live musical performances. These student films all shared the theme set up by the committee for this year, which was “Express It.”
The festival started at 6 p.m. with a reception, as students and faculty gathered in front of Campbell Hall to eat tacos provided by Lilly’s Taqueria. There were outdoor performances provided by the Sundaes and UCSBreakin’ with its amazing break dancing skills. There was art on display, including paintings submitted by students and glitch art videos provided by the Film and Media Studies 109 Glitch Art class. The art pieces on display during the reception were judged by Owen Duncan.
The screening of the selected 12 films started at 8 p.m. and was divided into four acts. In between each act there was a performance that varied from the bluegrass stylings of the duo Swan Song to the a capella stylings of UCSB’s Brothas From Otha Mothas (BFOM). The films were judged by three judges: Hilary Campbell, Daniel Bydlowski and David “DJ” Palladino.
After the films were screened, the audience had a chance to vote for their favorite movie while Kirsten Pierre, the event’s producer, and Olivia Lucero, the assistant director, announced both the winning art pieces and the winners of the drawings and the auction. After the announcement of the drawing and auction winners, Kirsten and Olivia announced the awards for the films.
The winner for Best Editing went to The Surfer: “Dreams of the waves become reality.” Best Cinematography was given to Once Upon A Story, a film about fairy tales with a twist. Best Music went to Who is the Striped Man, a film simply described as “We’ll never know.” Audience Choice was given to Doot: “When you can’t beat your dreams… blow.” Finally, the Scott Wells Golden Reel Award, the Reel Loud Best Film prize which was renamed after a UCSB alumnus who recently passed away, was given to Who is the Striped Man.
After the winning films were announced, the student staff dedicated the Inspirational Award to Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, two comedic writers known for shows such as Cheers and Teacher’s Pet and who now work under the film and media studies department. After the show, Cheri Stienkellner shared her thoughts on the Reel Loud Festival making it to 25 years by stating, “There’s a real sense of the Gaucho community… the different departments working together, people coming back for [Reel Loud Film Festival]. It creates a real sense of family.” Bill Steinkellner praised this year’s festival as being “fantastic!” and was “tremendously impressed.”
Overall, the festival seemed like an amazing experience for everyone involved. The guests enjoyed the performances and were taken aback by the films. Movies like Who is the Striped Man were celebrated with applause while films like Doot were received with constant laughter. The staff did an exceptional job of running the event smoothly, keeping up the constant entertainment for everyone. The festival was a truly entertaining experience that will hopefully continue for another 25 years.