Sequels that are even better than the original film are few and far between, but when they do come along – think “The Godfather Part II” or “The Empire Strikes Back” – it is something special.
Grove City College students organizing the 2022 Lux Mea Film Festival are hoping to harness that kind of lightning-strikes-twice energy after the inaugural edition in 2021 was a big hit.
“It is going to be an exciting event. We think we are going to see more students with more filmmaking experience. It was so cool to see the supportive response Lux Mea got last year and we’re hoping to see that again this year,” said junior Communication Arts major Grace Eldridge, digital marketing manager for the festival.
Like the original, it will be a glitzy, red-carpet premiere style event featuring a screening of short films produced by students at the College. Professional judges will evaluate the top 13 or 14 entries and medals awarded to the top films.
But the 2022 festival, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 23, will be a little bit different. The venue – Crawford Hall Auditorium – is new, and so are the students working on the festival for Associate Professor of Communication & Visual Arts Gregory Bandy’s Special Events and Promotions class.
As well as providing an opportunity for young filmmakers to screen their films and the community to see them, the festival presents Bandy’s students with real world experience in planning and producing a big event with a lot of moving parts for the college and community.
“I have thought for a long time that producing a film is a quintessential liberal arts educational experience,” Bandy said. “Think about it. It involves writing, theatre, art, music, technology, management, and problem solving.”
The class is split into teams to handle all aspects of the festival: marketing and communications, social media, design, reception, program, video, and photography. It’s not a cake walk. “When I show up for class, it feels like I am showing up for a job. Most of our classes are working sessions,” junior Biblical and Religious Studies and Communications Arts major Mollie Landman, a said. She is handling the reception, which entails budgeting for food, lining up musicians and ordering decorations.
Students keep a comprehensive journal of the work they have done for the festival, what they have learned in the process and what they wish they knew coming into the class project. These documents, including areas for improvement, serve as the class final and a resource for the next class of festival organizers.
“Most other classes provide more fundamental, individual skills, while this class allows you to put those skills into actual practice,” The most important day for the class is the day of the festival. All our hard work from the semester will come together,” Eldridge said.
The Lux Mea Film Festival takes its name from Grove City College’s motto, which means “my light.” The festival exists to illuminate truth through films and features the work of student narratives.
Sarah Sawyers, a junior Communications Arts major who is working on video production for the festival, said Lux Mea celebrates good, well-crafted stories. “As a filmmaker submitting something myself, I see it as a good opportunity to get my work out there and also enjoy other stories made by my peers.”
Three award-winning film professionals will judge entries: Brian Osmond ’88, a Grove City College graduate and a 30-year veteran cinematographer with over 90 credits in film and TV, including the Academy Award winner “Mank,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” and the highly popular Netflix series, “Mindhunter;” Christine Swanson, a visionary filmmaker from Detroit behind the hit “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel” and a veteran television director; and Jeff Day, an award-winning screenwriter/director/producer with over 30 years of experience on stage and screen and the co-founder of Lucky Day Studios.
Tickets for the festival go on sale Monday, April 11. For more information, visit luxmeafilmfestival.com. For more about the Department of Communication & Visual Arts at Grove City College, visit gcc.edu/comm.