2nd annual Allegheny Regional Film Festival

Students and faculty prepare for a bigger and better event


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The Allegheny Film Festival is working to bring together Great Lakes College Association (GLCA) colleges to share video and collaborate with a weekend of events.

Saturday will be a workshop, panel discussion, mini film fest, a guest speaker, and the screening of the chosen submissions, followed by a round-table discussion on Sunday.

“The event is two-fold. We wanted more collaboration between [GLCA] schools, allowing more connections to be made and provide an outlet for film,” Jess Swigonski, ‘14, a student committee member, said. She added the level of film programs at the different schools ranges from beginning to a huge program, so it is interesting to see and talk to the students and faculty from other places.

Submissions for the film festival are due on Feb. 28, 2013, from students at any of the GLCA schools. Last year, there were over fifty submissions of films under ten minutes.

According to Heather Nelson, ‘17, a student committee member, last year there was participation from eight of the thirteen GLCA schools.

Communication Arts professor River Branch said they anticipate participation from most, if not all, of the GLCA colleges this year.

“A committee of four students decides which will be shown. We use a rubric, watch all of them, then pick the top three from each of the five categories,” Swigonski said.

Those five categories are: narrative, documentary, experimental, animation, and music video.

“My favorite part of the festival is seeing everything come together. The day of, I’m able to just enjoy the programming that our team has worked so hard to bring to Allegheny. And I love seeing the festival impact other production students,” Nelson said.

The idea for the Allegheny Regional Film Festival came from Branch.

“As a student in one of our peer institutions, I participated in GLCA student-faculty forums. These forums radically expanded my exposure to a community with a shared investment in my field of inquiry,” Branch said.

She added she had the opportunity to work critically and creatively with students and faculty from across the region to build upon the conversations taking place on her own campus, and the ideas she brought back fed into her own individual studies.

“It was my hope that such a forum might shape the development of film and video curricular initiatives as well as student group initiatives…Allegheny Regional Film Festival positions Allegheny College to be at the forefront of film and video curricular and co-curricular initiatives taking place on small, liberal arts campuses across our region,” Branch continued.

Swigonski said when Branch proposed the idea last year, the student committee was overwhelmed at first, but they started working and it spread.

According to Nelson, the Allegheny Regional Film Festival developed out of collaboration between ACTV and Allegheny Film Union.

“Originally the Film Festival had been organized and sponsored by ACTV, but two years ago, we saw a great opportunity to partner with AFU to put the fest on. It grew from there into a farther reaching collaboration. In the future, we hope to include other schools in the planning, and to move the festival around,” Nelson said.

Branch added that the festival provides a forum for students and faculty to collaborate between institutions, share ideas, and establish connections for future partnerships.

“We shared a commitment to fostering a vital, creative and critical space for the creation and distribution of work.  We sought to identify the ways in which we were most effectively poised to contribute to the study and practice of filmmaking.  Liberal Arts Colleges provide a powerful and vibrant pathway into the world of film and television,” Branch said.

She added this pathway demands a dynamic relationship between form and content and students learn the art of visual and aural storytelling in concert with a deep engagement with the disciplines shaping these stories.

The film festival will be the weekend of March 28-29. Everyone is welcome at all of the events during the weekend, and are encouraged to come to the screening and speaker.

Participating schools in the GLCA are: Albion College, Allegheny College, Anitoch College, Denison University,  DePauw University, Earlham College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, and College of Wooster.

Check out the Allegheny Regional Film Festival event page on Facebook or Tumblr. If you are interested in submitting a film, applications are in the production wing.


CAITIE McMEKIN/THE CAMPUS Allegheny Regional Film Festival plays off of the acronym ARFF and uses a dog as their mascot.  This year’s dog was drawn by Brennan Maine ‘14, a studio art major, who is also working on the ARFF comittee.
Allegheny Regional Film Festival plays off of the acronym ARFF and uses a dog as their mascot. This year’s dog was drawn by Brennan Maine ‘14, a studio art major, who is also working on the ARFF comittee.