April 13, 2007

Student-produced films to be shown at theater

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Twenty-three short films, created by Purdue University students who are competing for cash and other prizes, will be shown Thursday (April 19) at the Wabash Landing 9 Theater.

The Digital Cinema Contest, sponsored by Purdue's Digital Learning Collaboratory, begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available beginning at 6 p.m. at the theater, located at 300 E. State St. Coupons for refreshments will accompany the tickets.

The first-place winners in each of four categories will earn $300. Second-place finishers win $200, and third-place finishers earn $100. The winners, as well as other participants, also will receive prizes donated by sponsors. Those include everything from iPods, printers and computer software to food, T-shirts and gift certificates.

The event's organizer said that a participant last year, Mak Hossain, went on to enter and win a National Student Academy Award and is an inspiration to this year's student filmmakers.

"We're a stepping stone now," said David Eisert, educational technologist at the Digital Learning Collaboratory, which is in the John W. Hicks Undergraduate Library. "It shows that Purdue University, which isn't known for film study, can have a student that goes on to win a national award. That says a lot about the strengths of our students, the programs they're involved in and the resources that are made available to them on the Purdue campus."

Entry into the contest was open to any Purdue student, regardless of discipline of study. Some of the participants worked on their films individually, while others worked in groups.

Their mission was to create a film lasting no less than 30 seconds and no more than seven minutes. Films were entered in narrative, documentary, alternative and animation categories.

The films were judged by a panel of six faculty members and librarians across campus. Eisert will spend roughly the first hour of the premiere announcing and showing the winners and giving prizes. All entries will be screened following the awards presentation.

Many of the projects were done in the computer laboratory and with a little added guidance.

"All the students created the films on their own, but they had to meet requirements," Eisert said. "We offered workshops to help the students create the entire piece and build their momentum."

Eisert said a wide variety of students enter the contest.

"You'll have everything from English 106 students entering a visual rhetoric project to a full-blown animation from the computer graphics technology 411 senior design class," he said. "With the guidance and assistance available from this facility, we see that incoming freshmen can compete in the same categories as seniors. It's not just the seniors sweeping everything."

Eisert has seen the competition grow each year since the Digital Learning Collaboratory's inception in 2003. Last year, the premiere was held in one theater, and all the tickets were gone within 15 minutes of the doors opening. This year's 23 entries are an all-time high, and two theaters will be used to showcase the films.

Eisert cautions that the films have not been rated and advises viewer discretion. The films can contain adult language and violence.

Writers:    Jim Bush, (765) 494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Jennifer Kapp, (765) 496-7406, jkapp@purdue.edu

Source: David Eisert, (765) 494-4209, eisertd@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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