For the 10th anniversary of the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), MSU students were invited to show their work, which received high praise from festival founder and Academy-Award winning director Michael Moore, and plans already are being made for this year’s festival.
“The work that these guys have done from Michigan State is absolutely incredible,” Moore said during a press conference on the opening day of the 2014 festival. “It’s as good as the stuff I’ve seen from NYU or Columbia, and we’re really proud to show these.”
Each year, the TCFF attracts films and filmmakers from around the world to the Grand Traverse Bay community with last year’s festival, held July 29-Aug. 3, featuring short films from several College of Communication Arts and Sciences student filmmakers. The ComArtSci films included:
“D is for Dream” – The Media Sandbox Challenge grand-prize winning film by Scott Swanson that explores Detroit’s multicultural growth and examines the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. within the city.
“Every Two Minutes” – A documentary, directed by Kirk Mason with help from Jenny Berggren, Nolly Dakroury, Carter Ellwood, Anna Myers, Ian Siporin, Logan Stark and Laura Swanson, featuring the stories of sexual assault survivors as they illustrate the struggles surrounding this problem within our society.
“Out of the Box” – Directed by Carter Ellwood and Izak Gracy and written by Carly Belsito, Elizabeth Izzo, Reid Masimore, Andrea Raby and Madeline Rosemurgy, this documentary follows the 2,800-mile journey made by these seven Media Sandbox Street Team members as they drove to the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, and along the way, helped underserved nonprofits in four cities by giving each a media makeover.
“A Public Affair” – A short fiction film about a young professional too consumed by his work to have a healthy relationship who finds himself in limbo when his fantasy girl comes to life. The film was directed by Margo Sawaya and Ryan Goendyke, written by Andrew Orlando and Zachary Zweifler, and produced by Alexa Keene, Dan Feole and Ethan Weiner.
While visiting the Traverse City Film Festival, Media Sandbox Street Team members – Gracy, Izzo, Raby and Shelby Robinson – gave the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area a media makeover, all the while, producing a short film on the experience, which was shown on the last day of the festival.
“The fact that they shot, edited and completed the film in five days and had it ready to be shown at the festival is pretty amazing,” said Media Sandbox Director David Wheeler.
The Media Sandbox and GEL Lab also created an interactive gallery at last year’s TCFF, which had never been done before at the festival. The Next exhibit focused on storytelling through the use of interactive gaming technology by showcasing interactive game installations and transmedia experiences that explore the expansion of cinema and gaming culture in today’s rapidly changing landscape. One of the features of the exhibit was the Oculus Rift demonstration that even MSU President Lou Anna Simon tried. The Oculus Rift is an upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display that is expected to transform gaming as we know it.
Plans for the college’s participation in the 2015 Traverse City Film Festival currently are underway with CAS students already working on a special feature-length film tailored specifically for the festival. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 28-Aug. 2.