BYU’s annual Final Cut Film Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Oct. 21-22. The student-run festival will present student-produced films selected through a rigorous submission process. The films will be evaluated by film industry judges and an award ceremony will be held immediately following the final screening on Oct. 21.
The festival is produced by the Department of Theatre and Media Arts and the BYU Student Film Association, and screens films created by students all across campus. In a quarter of a century, it has become the longest-running and largest film festival on campus. The festival typically receives over 100 film submissions each year.
Typically, the festival chooses and screens about 35 films, split into two 75 minute programs. However, the festival received so many quality submissions this year, they decided to add a third program on Saturday afternoon to allow more films to be screened.
Kyle Stapley, the media arts program coordinator, said, “Film is going on all across campus. This is a way we can celebrate filmmaking, but it’s also a way to celebrate the filmmakers here at BYU and their talent. We accept films all across campus because we want to make sure animation students get a voice, we want to make sure commercial advertising students get a voice. We want everyone to have the opportunity to share their voice.”
Because there are few opportunities to show film work on campus at a large venue, the Final Cut Film Festival is a distinguished way to share student-produced films in front of a large audience.
“It’s important to have these kinds of screenings on campus. It really benefits the filmmaker to receive feedback from an audience,” said Stapley. “It also benefits them by getting to know other filmmakers on campus that are also really talented. Filmmaking is all about collaboration and we want students to collaborate together so they can create the best types of work they possibly can.”
Networking with attendees from outside of BYU is another highlight of the festival. In addition to industry judges, former students and professionals in the film industry attend the festival. “It’s a way to get yourself out there. Often times, students are approached and pulled out during the festival by someone who saw their film and was super impressed with their work,” said Stapley.
Connections and job offers are not uncommon at the Final Cut Film Festival. Stapley shared that a large number of alumni attend the festival for two reasons: to see the great work of the students, and for a chance to hire the next great filmmaker.
The festival is also engaging for non-filmmakers. It gives attendees the opportunity to see what films are being created on campus.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize we have such talented filmmakers here or are aware of the work and talent they possess,” said Stapley. “We want to make sure students get to witness what is happening in the artistic endeavors of their peers. I think students will be surprised at how high quality this content is, and some of the important stories that are being told from these films.”
To view past productions that have been featured in the Final Cut Film Festival, visit studentfilms.byu.edu. The archives go back to 1999, and the TMA Department is working towards uploading all films from the festival's beginnings in 1992.
A video previewing the films at this year’s festival may be viewed here.