by Keili Hamilton-Maureira (junior Communications Studies major)
Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) held its 13th annual student film festival on Friday, April 13 in The Parliament Student Lounge. The student-organized festival was a great success, boasting over 200 guests — students, faculty, alumni and friends. The event was also open to the general public, and was announced in The Asahi Shimbun.
The festival, directed and supervised since 2005 by Assistant Professor Karl Neubert, is organized as a part of a Communications Studies course. Students taking the credit-bearing course produce the event and are responsible for all aspects, including the call for entries, film selection, promotion, and event management.
As the doors opened and the event began, guests quickly filled The Parliament Student Lounge. The room buzzed with anticipation and excitement as trailers for this year’s selections played on the screen. The lights dimmed, and with an announcement by the festival’s MCs, the program began. Five student films were shown in each of the two programs of the evening, with genres from music video and comedy, to drama and documentary. Students cheered for their classmates and friends recognized as actors in or contributors to the films.
This year’s festival featured filmmakers from The Philippines, USA, Nigeria, Germany, Japan, China, and Mexico – representing TUJ’s global student body.
This year, TUJ welcomed notable film critic Chris Fujiwara as a special guest judge. Awards were given for three Best Pictures, one Audience Award, and one for Best Cinematography. The award for Best Cinematography was donated by one of the sponsors of this year’s festival, Panic Ball Productions, a company established by TUJ alumni. Fujiwara commented on the great talent showcased by students in this year’s festival program, which he said made his awards decisions difficult. The first place award for Best Picture with a grand prize of 20,000 yen was awarded to Cory Sparks for his film Tagami Pottery, a documentary about a family of Mashikoyaki pottery experts in Tochigi prefecture. Sparks also received the Panic Ball Productions award for Best Cinematography.
<student writer> Keili Hamilton-Maureira
Keili is a Junior Communications Studies major at Temple University, Japan Campus. When she is not writing or working, she can usually be found watching reruns of American talk shows or telling her husband to stand still while she draws him.