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Student filmmakers find spotlight at Glenwood festival

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Monique Rodriguez says that putting together the Rocky Mountain Student Film Fest has, at times, been stressful. That’s understandable: Apart from pitching in a bit at the end of the process last year, Rodriguez hasn’t had any experience in putting together an event of this magnitude. And this year, the festival organizers aimed to expand their scope, reaching out to film programs all over the Western Slope, in Denver, and as far away as New York.

Add in to the equation that Rodriguez is 17, and a junior at Basalt High School.

“At times it’s been a little stressful,” she said. “But when it comes together, when you can see all the films and everything’s falling into place, it’s relieving and uplifting.”

Which means the rough part is just about over. The 10th annual Rocky Mountain Student Film Fest is set for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Glenwood Springs High School. If past history holds, the auditorium will be full of students and parents curious to see what topics are on kids’ minds these days, and how they express it in the language of short films.

As a film enthusiast, Rodriguez jumped at the chance to take Media Empowerment, a course offered at Basalt High. “You learn about media, messages in media, and how to express yourself in the media,” she said of the class. The course included a group project of making a film: “Peace,” a work about “peace and inner peace,” Rodriguez said about the work-in-progress.

Equally enticing was the chance to take a featured role in putting on the Student Film Fest. Rodriguez was one of some 10 students ” and part of the core group of five ” who have been organizing the event since the start of the school year.

“When they told me how you get to screen the films, and get to run this whole festival of short films ” that appealed to me,” she said.

The group received 40 submissions, and chose 20 films for the program. There are films from throughout the valley, from the Steamboat area, from the Denver School of Arts, and from a summer camp in New York. To Rodriguez’s eye, the overall quality is better than last year’s, even though submissions are down some. There was a notable increase in comedies: “I think that’s people trying to lighten the mood of what’s going on right now,” she said.

A new element this year is a trailer for the event, which can be seen at studentfilmfest.org. Creating the trailer and posting added a bit to the workload. But Rodriguez sees the end in sight, and is pleased with the accomplishment.

“I feel very good about the festival,” she said. “It’s exhilarating.”

stewart@aspentimes.com


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