The student-run Ramstock VCU Film Festival will screen short films from local and international filmmakers on April 27 for the fourth and final year.
The festival is being hosted by sophomores studying film at VCUarts Photography and Film Department, and is the culmination of their sophomore seminar class. John Stavas and Alexander Kreher are serving as co-directors of Ramstock. They said this year’s festival will be the last before the photo and film curriculum receives an overhaul next year.
“I think they’re really trying to change the direction (of the program),” Kreher said. “Hopefully, for the better, to really improve the film experience. And I think the reason they cut the film festival class was because there just wasn’t enough time for it.”
Even though the event is part of the film sophomore’s regular class load, Ramstock is open to submissions from people of any background and any part of the world. Stavas said he hopes to screen more films from VCU than films from out-of-state. He finds the diversity of submissions exciting and challenging.
“We get some bizarre stuff, but it’s cool because we get stuff from professional filmmakers in Latin America, and then we also get films from VCUarts freshmen,” Stavas said. “It’s really cool we can offer this platform for this huge range of artists to submit to.”
Filmmakers from countries such Sweden and Spain made submissions to Ramstock. Stavas said the number of submissions far exceeded those of previous years, with around 70 short films vying for time at the festival.
“Getting different inspirations and different influences is important,” Kreher said. “Not so much as a competition, but more like an inspiration, when someone in our age and our skill level in a different country (makes a film) we ask, ‘How did they approach that?’ I’m excited to not only be showing VCU films.”
Films are being selected in three categories: documentary, narrative, and experimental; all with a 20 minute maximum running time. Stavas said the average length of submissions so far is around five minutes, but some run close to the cut-off length and others are as short as one minute. Stavas also said the number of films that will screen is dependent on how many can fit in the two hour show time. Official selections are still to be determined.
First place awards will be given in each of the three film categories, which will be determined by a jury of professional peers. However, Kreher said the competition is not the focus of Ramstock.
“We try to keep it balanced,” Kreher said. “Friendly competition is always healthy … but the goal is to show what VCU has to offer and then maybe that turns into a collaboration, or an inspiration across departments.”
The Ramstock VCU Film Festival is a free event taking place April 27 at 5 p.m. at the VCU Student Commons Theater.