The College of Charleston’s 19th Annual Student Film Festival

By Anna Deason ’24, Former Film Club Officer

On the evening of April 6th, the College of Charleston Education Center Atrium looked unrecognizable. As if by magic, the lobby had been transformed Cinderella-style from a utilitarian study spot into a cozy, professional-looking event space. A fully- stocked catering table atop black table-cloth here, a step and repeat photo op there (complete with stage lights, red carpet, and a student photographer), and tasteful white, gold, and black decor throughout the room completed the venue look. Anyone who walked through the front doors that night would know right away they were in the right place for the College of Charleston Student Film Festival.

The CofC Student Film Festival is hosted each year by the Film Club and celebrates the creative filmmaking pursuits by students from CofC and Trident Technical College. “The Student Film Festival is the flagship event of the year for the Film Studies Program,” said CofC Film Studies Director Colleen Glenn. “Just as the student film club has become an important arm of the Film Studies minor, the student film festival has become our yearly celebration of cinema and student filmmakers at the College of Charleston.”

In recent years, the CofC Film Club has partnered with Queen Street Playhouse in downtown Charleston to host the festival, but this year, the festival was held in the Septima Clark Auditorium on CofC’s campus. The 2024 film line-up was comprised of eight different short films submitted by students across a variety of academic departments, from Biology Majors to Studio Art Majors.

This year, Film Studies Professors Colleen Glenn and John Bruns were proud to award the top three short film winners, as decided by judges Tim Fennell, Giovanna De Luca, and Jeffrey Youn. Third place was awarded to the short film A Town With Love in the Middle by Kate Pearson, second place to Backstage by CofC seniors Max Meyers and

Dr. Colleen Glenn and Dr. John Bruns presenting Max Meyers and Keller Hollingsworth with the 2nd place prize. Photo by Alyssa Thomas-Skipper.

Keller Hollingsworth, and first place to Mickey vs. the Passage of Time by CofC senior Bristol Barnes. Mickey also racked up an audience choice award, and Trident Tech student Ron Grant’s film Procrastination received Honorable Mention.

Film Club president Caroline Drinnon is in the unique position of not only getting to host this year’s festival, but also playing the lead role in the Film Club-produced short film, Mickey vs. the Passage of Time. Caroline told me, “As a creator, the festival

CofC Film Club President Caroline Drinnon introducing a film. Photo by Alyssa Thomas-Skipper.

provides ample opportunities for learning and celebration of student success. The process of making the short film is clearly a strenuous task in itself with coordinating a team, writing a script, and finding the time to film it with whatever equipment you might have on hand.”

The festival, Caroline said, allows students to connect and form community not just as creators, but as audience members, as well. Plus, she said, “it’s a fun occasion to dress up and enjoy the art scene in Charleston without breaking the bank.” Certainly a tantalizing offer for any college student!

Photo by Alyssa Thomas-Skipper.

To close off the evening, Professors Glenn and Bruns commemorated all fourteen Film Studies graduating seniors onstage. For those graduating seniors, the Student Film Festival serves as their final send-off from the program prior to their graduation ceremonies. Dr. Glenn remarked, “The festival gives students an opportunity to submit and screen their work, and also gives our program a chance to honor and recognize our film studies students—those who simply love cinema and those who make movies, alike.”

Photo by Alyssa Thomas-Skipper.

With the Student Film Festival now going on its twentieth year, it’s difficult to ignore the question of legacy. For some, the film fest truly is the culmination of their time in Film Studies or in Film Club here at the College.

Caroline agrees, as she and other Film Studies Minors get to take all the concepts they’ve studied over the past few years and apply them, whether in the creation of a film or in the viewing experience of one.

Caroline reflected, “I think when it comes to the film festival, and to the club in general, it’s always the people and their creations that are the most memorable. The community that is built from being able to create something collaboratively and share it with friends, family, and peers is really unmatched.”

Both the Film Club and its festival have survived nearly two decades now; through changes in modern technology, four different College Presidents, and even a global pandemic, it seems as if the CofC Film Studies Program will always be ready to face whatever comes next. So, here’s to the future of the College of Charleston Student Film Festival.

Cast and crew members of “Mickey vs. The Passage of Time,” the 1st prize winning film written and directed by senior Bristol Barnes. Photo by Chase Austin.

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