A film festival in its first year will bring more than a dozen films to Penn State venues this weekend and involves the work of an alumnus.
The College Town Film Festival will show the work of 2010 graduate Brandon Hess. His film, “First in Flight,” will be shown during a special American Film Institute session from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday in 112 Kern Building.
As a part of the festival, movies will be shown at both The State Theatre and Carnegie Cinema on March 14 to 17.
The idea came from a screening of “Karaoke Man” last year, Matt Jordan, associate professor and coordinator of the festival, said.
Jordan said that people ages 18 to 25, a mostly college demographic, weren’t going to see indie films.
“A lot of students don’t see these films and don’t have a sense of how good they can be,” he said.
He said that though many students aren’t seeing these movies, a college town is the perfect place to show them.
“This would be a great place to try out the idea,” he said in reference to the festival’s first year.
Jordan said that these films aren’t well known and that it’s often hard to attain enough money to have a marketing budget.
“It’s really difficult for small films to get into the mainstream,” he said.
Steve Sampsell, director of College Relations for the College of Communications, said that this festival is a great opportunity, especially for students in the film department.
He said that it’s a “wonderful resource” for students and that the quality of film is high.
“I’m excited about what [this festival] means,” Sampsell said.
Students will be able to form working relationships with people in the business who come and speak during the festival, he said.
Jordan said he hopes that this festival will serve as a form of networking for college students at Penn State.
Eric Zudak, producer of the film “Karaoke Man,” said he helped to organize the film festival with Jordan.
He said the screening of his film during the previous year was to “test to see if [the film festival] idea would fly.”
Zudak said that they liked the idea of using a campus to view these films because the setting is “unique.”
“There isn’t really any other environment like [this] outside of a college town. It’s really fertile ground for this kind of discussion and feedback,” he said. “[College] allows you to experience film as you’re kind of forming your identity. It really opens up the world even further, ” he added.
He said that in addition to helping students create connections in the market, he hopes this festival will help the films find an audience.
Tickets for the entire four-day festival cost $60. For tickets to view individual films, tickets are $7 and $2 for students with a valid Penn State ID+.