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SMU Student Filmmakers' Association Revamps and Expands Spring Film Festival, To Be Held April 28 at Landmark Magnolia Theatre

Festival submissions now open to area universities; entries due April 15

Showcases for short films are few and far between in Dallas. Quality short film showcases are even more rare. Southern Methodist University’s Student Filmmakers’ Association (SFA) is trying to change that.

The SMU Student Filmmakers’ Association started the Student Film Festival some time ago, but this year, the SFA officers decided it was time for a makeover. Hoping to offer films of at least the same caliber as those shown at the Dallas International Film Festival, if not better, SMU organizers began to reexamine their festival practices.

In the past, the festival was strictly limited to SMU students and no fee was involved. While this structure was a great way for providing students with a chance to get their work shown to an audience, there was little legitimacy attached to gaining entry into the festival or with the festival itself.

Brainstorming and planning for the new and improved festival began in July 2010, before the school year even started. Jonathan Lester, vice-president of exhibition, has been working ever since to instigate a few key changes. The SFA Film Festival is now open to submissions from all of the universities in North Texas, including UNT, UTA, UTD, and area community colleges – even Baylor in Waco. Any North Texas university that hears about the festival is eligible to submit a film, said Lester. This allows the films to come from a wider cross-section of influences and perspectives and increases the competitive pool of submissions to encompass all of the most talented student filmmakers in the area.

Another change for the festival is its location. Rather than being held on campus in O’Donnell Hall, the festival will be held at the Landmark Magnolia Theatre in the West Village, which is frequently referred to as one of the best theaters in Dallas.

The judges for the festival include both industry professionals and alumni of SMU’s Division of Film and Media Arts. Sam Wade, the owner of Premiere Video, Liz Johnson of Frozen Fire Films, and Brad Beasley, the vice-president of MPS Dallas, are all slated to participate.

Entries in the festival will be judged in a variety of different categories, including Best Director, Best Editing, Best Sound Design, Best Cinematography, Best Script, Best Overall and the Audience Choice Award.

The festival will be held on Thursday, April 28 at the Landmark Magnolia from approximately 7:00-10:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Submissions to the festival are due by Friday, April 15 and can either be mailed to 5555 E. Mockingbird Ln., Apartment #4202, Dallas, TX 75206 or dropped off at Southern Methodist University, The Division of Film and Media Arts, Room 238 in the Umphrey Lee Center, 3300 Dyer St. SMU submissions are free, while non-SMU submissions require a fee of $15.

For more information about submissions or the festival, please call (903) 235-6963.

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