Written by Jason Koskovich
On Friday, May 19th, over 500 people gathered at the Showplace ICON Theater in St. Louis Park’s West End to watch over 80 short films created entirely by Minnesota High School filmmakers. The EDU Film Festival is in its 10th year and was founded by IPR Associate Campus Director and Digital Video & Media Production Chair Trey Wodele. EDU’s goal is to provide young filmmakers with an authentic film festival experience, a valuable understanding of the film industry, and an opportunity to screen their movies on the big screen.
IPR’s Commitment to Youth Media
For the last three years, IPR has been a major sponsor of the EDU Film Festival. Campus Director Stacy Severson thinks the event is important for several reasons, “The EDU Film Festival nurtures young filmmakers and guides them in their next steps, one of which is the college route, but more importantly, EDU’s commitment to young filmmakers of color and young women filmmakers is a value that IPR shares, and we are thrilled to be able to help the festival in its mission.”
The EDU Film Festival partners with the Twin Cities Black Film Festival and with Minnesota Women in Film and Television to provide awards to exceptional young women, and to young filmmakers of color. This year, Perpich Center for Arts Education student Savanna Thunder received a year’s membership to MWFT for her documentary film Standing Rock Insider. Melissa Moua a student of IFP MN/Coon Rapids High School will have a screening at the Twin Cities Black Film Festival for her film, Memories.
Festival Partners Provide Prizes to Winning Films
The festival screens narrative, experimental, comedy, animated, and documentary films from dozens of schools and awards Best-in-Fest Prizes for each category. Winning filmmakers were awarded prizes provided by IPR, Z Systems, Rhymesayers Entertainment, and Minnesota Women in Film and Television. In addition, as a part of the prize packages some winners will go on to screen their films at Duluth Superior Film Festival, The Twin Cities Film Fest, and the Twin Cities Black Film Festival. The 2017 Best in Fest Award winner was Minneapolis Southwest High School student Simon Tolman for his film Black and Blue, the story of four young black men and their experience in the moments proceeding a routine traffic stop.
“These young people have important stories to tell,” says Wodele. “We screen a lot of comedies and music videos, but we also see a lot films on gender, LGBT, Black Lives Matter, global warming… the issues that are on the minds of our young people. We are proud to provide a space and a venue for young filmmakers to express the topics that are important to them – and we couldn’t do it without our sponsors.”
IPR Screens DVMP Short Films at EDU
As a part of its sponsorship benefits, IPR is provided with a theater to screen student projects. This year, the DVMP program screened 10 student projects along with a sneak peak at the Student/Professional collaborative short film LEVEL, directed by DVMP Instructor Andrew Hunt. Jorge Fuentes’ AAS degree thesis film If I Was There was a part of the screening and he reflected on the experience. “It’s good to see my film in the theater and hear the feedback. It helps give me more confidence in my abilities as a director.”
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