Volume 92, Issue 95
Friday, March 26, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Film showcase a benefit
By Mark Lewandowski
The fifth annual Western Film Festival was presented last night at the McKellar Room for the lucky 15 films selected.
Unfortunately, in the past, those not selected had to wallow under the lowly moniker of "unscreened." This situation should at least be partially rectified by two Western students who suffered such a fate this year.
"It's not a vindictive thing," Stuart Starr says truthfully. He and Jared Gutstadt are the mind and bodies behind the operation which they have dubbed Reel Film Showcase. Presented as an alternative to the Western Film Festival, the showcase is unique because it will utilize a noncompetitive format and proceeds will be going to Survivors of the Shoah a foundation which benefits Holocaust survivors.
"The whole point is that people worked hard and want to show it on the big screen. When your goals are creativity and entertainment value then it shouldn't be competitive," Starr comments. The biggest difference between this showcase and a film festival is a showcase is geared solely toward entertainment value.
"We knew we had some good films but we knew they wouldn't get into the festival," Starr explains. "These are more mainstream type films made to be enjoyed not analyzed."
Starr admits the event does have a cultural spin to it and says the group expects a lot of support from the Jewish community, but the films are a separate entity. "These films are not political completely entertainment value."
The showcase is being held this Monday in the McKellar Room from 3 to 5 p.m. and is very time-sensitive.
"We couldn't make it any later because next week is Passover. Everyone has their film ready at this time of year so that helps too plus it's getting late in the year so we couldn't push it off any further," Starr explains.
"There will be a spill-over effect from the other festival. The benefit of our showcase is that it will encourage people to make a film because they know there is another venue," Gutstadt elaborates.
"Film theory is very prominent in most film courses here but I believe there is a lot of creativity which does not fit into film form," Starr says. "This showcase is not for film critics, it's for students." Starr is sure to mention the films presented will not be of a lower standard just because they didn't make it into the other festival. "We have a different judging criteria we don't judge them on cinematography or editing.
"The people at the foundation are really excited about this, it's a worth-while cause," Starr points out. It is especially personal for Gutstadt whose grandmother is herself a Shoah survivor.
"It has always been a very important cause to me," he confirms. "It's good to have the charity behind us but it's not just a Jewish community thing. It was started by Spielberg, so people in the film community can relate to it."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999