Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts presents the fifth annual 5 Minute Film Festival, sponsored by Canon, on March 27, 2018 beginning at 7 p.m. in Shamblin Theater. Guests are invited to walk the red carpet at the gala awards presentation and screening of the top films in each category.
Interested competitors must submit their work by Monday, March 12 before midnight. For more information, click here.
The 2018 festival is the first to include a corporate sponsor in Canon. “We’re excited to have Canon as our official corporate sponsor. Our Cinematic Arts program uses Canon’s EOS C100 and C300 series cameras and we’ve been really happy with the quality of product these cameras generate,” said Steve Taylor, assistant professor of film and creative media and director of Lipscomb’s School of Theatre and Cinematic Arts, of the exciting sponsorship.
The event is appropriately dubbed the 5 Minute Film Festival due to the brevity of the films. “It's my fault; I couldn't bear the thought of sitting through an evening of 20 minute long student films,” explained Taylor. “If you’re going to make a short film, make it short, which is why no submission can be longer than five minutes, including the credits.” Taylor quipped.
The competition includes three categories: narrative, documentary, and music video. Categories are open to any Lipscomb student, with one stipulation applicable to music videos: the music must be an original artist. “Ideally it’s with another artist on campus or in town. I tell them if they can’t find anyone, they can go throw a rock and you’ll hit a musician,” laughed Taylor.
For the first time, Lipscomb Academy students will be allowed to submit films. “I’ve seen some good work coming from academy students, and a few seniors have even taken some of our undergrad film classes,” said Taylor. “So, we’re going to include them this year and even give an award for Best Narrative Short from a Lipscomb Academy student."
The beauty of the competition is it facilitates collaboration amongst the arts. “We have awards for best actor, best actress and best original score, which are typically done by music students on campus. We have awards for best cinematography, best screenplay, and one for best sound design,” explained Taylor.
Sound, an overlooked detail by audiences, is what distinguishes a production as quality. “When we see a movie that looks cheap, it’s usually because it actually sounds cheap,” said Taylor. “We added best sound design to the awards because it is such an important component of a polished production.”
“I developed a music video for the festival,” said Myah Lipscomb, winner of Best Music Video, Best Cinematography and the Audience Award at the 2017 festival. “It taught me a lot about my ability to conceptualize a vision and bring it to life. That was my first music video and creating it motivated me to work on more.”
Lipscomb, a new filmmaker, previously experienced obstacles inherent to a small crew. But, her experience filming a production to compete in the festival was more challenging. “I just had myself and another cinematographer and for some of the shooting it was just me,” she said.
Despite these hurdles, Lipscomb encourages aspiring filmmakers to compete. “Feel confident about your work and enjoy the experience. It takes a lot of courage to submit projects, but it is so fulfilling to see your work on the big screen,” she said.
The festivals’ judges come from across the country, some hailing from Hollywood. “The judging panel has no connection to Lipscomb. They are all industry professionals and a mix of male, female, and diverse ethnicities,” Taylor explained. “It’s a lot easier to get quality judges to commit when they know the films are only five minutes long.”
The brief time of the shorts facilitates better judging in Taylor’s opinion. He remembers the arduous task from past experience as a member of the music video judging panel for the Grammy Awards. “We would all sit in a room and watch music videos for ten hours. You definitely had to take notes about what impressed you because after a while, they all blend together.”
Taylor highlighted the judges’ commitment to their role. “They know the students are counting on them to judge their projects fairly. They take it very seriously. I’m always pleased at how earnest and dedicated the judges are to get things right,” he said.
This year’s event includes a new feature for guests to enjoy, the red carpet. “It’s a dress up occasion. Our graduate students attend the Cannes film festival during their second year and experience the strict red carpet requirements for the evening premiers,” said Taylor.
"I've seen Cannes hosts turn away elderly women in evening gowns for not wearing heels, which is a little extreme. So we're keeping our requirements a bit more nebulous. Our posters say: 'Dress code enforced by burly bouncer.'"
The awards presentation format is comparable to the Golden Globes, with tables rather than theater style seating. This relaxes the event, allowing guests to enjoy while still engaging in the social experience. As with previous years, the grand prizewinner of the narrative category will have their film featured at the Nashville film festival, one of 29 Oscar qualifying festivals in the U.S.
The rapid success of the cinematic arts department combined with over 100 submissions expected this year makes the competition for this opportunity fierce. “Our undergrad program was named the best in Tennessee, and number 26 in the nation. That’s not bad for our third year in existence,” said Taylor.
For more information on the festival, click here. To learn more about the George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts Cinematic Arts program, visit the website at http://www.lipscomb.edu/cinematicarts.