ITHACA, NY — Student filmmakers, most from central and upstate New York, will have their short films screened during the fifth annual Centrally Isolated Film Festival (CIFF). During the festival, which takes place April 13 and 14 at Cornell University’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, members of the public and a panel of industry judges will award prizes across several categories.
According to faculty advisor Sabine Haenni, associate professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, the festival received more submissions than ever, particularly in the narrative category. The student organizers reached out to other schools in the Ivy League and, for the first time, the festival will feature films from Brown University.
“I’ve been thrilled to see our students come together to professionally discuss the merits of each submitted film,” said Haenni.
This year’s festival will also screen work from students at Ithaca College, Purchase College, and Rochester Institute of Technology. All of the short films are under twenty minutes.
The winner of each category (narrative, documentary, experimental, collaborative, and audience-choice) will receive a $200 cash prize. Audience awards will be presented Friday, and the Saturday screening will be followed by a feedback and Q&A session with the judges. This year’s panel of judges includes editor Rachel Katz ’08, Cornell Cinema director Mary Fessenden, and Jeffrey Palmer, assistant teaching professor of film at Syracuse University.
“This is a rare chance to look at the filmmaking craft,” said student organizer Isabel Pottinger ’19. “Everyone sees big Hollywood movies, but no one gets to really see what students make when they’re learning. It’s so exciting to see promising filmmakers and what they can do while they’re still in school.”
The Centrally Isolated Film Festival will be held on Friday, April 13, at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 14, at 2:00 p.m. in the Schwartz Center’s Film Forum. The screenings are free and open to the public. The Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts is located at 430 College Avenue in Ithaca.
Julian Robison ’20 is a communications assistant in the Department of Performing and Media Arts