RTF students plan film festival


Courtesy of Bailey Laird – The RTF department will be hosting their annual film festival at the Time Community Theater on May 16 at 6 p.m.

Josh Lehner, Assistant News Editor

The UW Oshkosh radio/TV/film (RTF) department will be hosting their annual student film festival — titled “Their Majesties Film Fest” — at the Time Community Theater, 445 N. Main St.,  May 14 at 6 p.m.

Students of the advanced visual production course at UWO have been planning, shooting and editing four different films throughout the semester.

Each year’s show sports a theme, and this year’s theme is royalty. Guests are encouraged to dress in their best royal attire.

UWO student Bailey Laird is a cinematographer for a film titled “You’ll Be Okay.”

“It follows a young woman fearing the possibility of being pregnant, as the world tries to tell her how to feel about the possibility,” he said.

Laird is working on the film with three other students — a producer, editor and writer/director. He said that, as a cinematographer, he focuses on the camera and visuals of the film.

“The director expresses their vision and works with the cinematographer to accomplish or enhance that vision, to give the audience the best possible product,” he said. “My overall job is to structure, light and compose each shot you see in the film.”

Joely Hurkman is the producer for a film titled “Now We Wait,” which follows a character named Rae, an anxious young adult who battles a fear of dying.

Hurkman said that the script was written in early February, and pre-production and filming began in March. Now, they are in the editing phase.

Hurkman has worked with three other crew members to produce the film: a writer and director, a director of photography and a sound-mixer and editor. But as the film’s producer, Hurkman said that her role is ensuring that production moves along and the requirements are met.

“Right away, I met with our writer, Megan, and together we finalized the script – breaking it down and strategically planning how long each moment would take to film,” she said. “I oversaw the finding of talent. As a group, we created a casting call that I published on Facebook … For the rest of our crew, I spoke with classmates and gave them each a position for the filming day that worked for them. I reserved the equipment and ensured that it was picked up in a timely manner and dropped off at the scheduled time.”

Hurkman said that her crew’s film, which focuses around the unexpected nature of death, aims to strike a chord with viewers and encourage them to vote for change.

She pointed out the more than 100 mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S. during her film’s production.

“The feeling of safety in a public space is so low right now, and each student is just waiting for this to happen on their campus,” she said. “‘Now We Wait’ really is about all of us, anxiously waiting and wondering what day will be our last.”

The festival is hosted through RTF professor Beth Hubbard’s class. But planning for the films began before the spring semester.

“The script ideas or rough drafts for the films tend to come from previous class work that students want to make into a short film,” Hubbard said. “The work toward forming groups and working on scripts is actually done once the fall semester ends. The goal is to come into the spring semester with scripts and groups ready to go because making a short film in 14 weeks is a demanding ambition.”

The course, Hubbard said, teaches students all aspects of the filmmaking process, from developing concepts to distribution.

“From casting, location scouting, framing, exporting and submitting to festivals, this course teaches students the techniques independent filmmakers are using to gain exposure, network and build careers,” she said.

Laird said that the opportunity to showcase a film in front of an audience is a surreal experience.

“For a lot of us, this is our first major project, so for it to be on display for the public in a legit movie theater is kind of crazy!” he said. “As one of the marketing coordinators for the festival, my biggest hope is that people come and enjoy the films.”

Students, friends and family are all encouraged to attend. There is no cost for entry and no tickets or sign-up required.