Tower Film Fest puts a spotlight on creativity

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By Sally Krutzig

News Editor

Matt Leibowitz and Mike Pitstick entertain the crowd at the 2015 Tower Film Fest. - Photo by Elizabeth Kerin
Matt Leibowitz and Mike Pitstick entertain the crowd at the 2015 Tower Film Fest.
– Photo by Elizabeth Kerin

The 2015 Tower Film Fest showed the creative side of the University of Dallas on Saturday, April 18. At 8 p.m., students gathered in Lynch to watch the film entries for this year’s competition. Senior hosts Mike Pitstick and Matt Leibowitz had the audience laughing between showings.

There were four requirements for film entries. First, they had to include the “Narnia Gate” archway near Madonna Pond. Second, the film had to include a UD professor. Third, films had to include an earthquake. Finally, each film could be no more than eight-and-a-half minutes long.

In the past, films could only be seven minutes long.

“That extra minute and a half made a big difference,” senior Tim Nguyen said. “It made it feel like a real film fest.”

The panel of judges was made up of English professor Father Robert Maguire, film critic and history professor Dr. Francis Swietek, psychology professor Dr. Robert Kugelmann and printmaking professor Steven Foutch.

The films showcased many of the idiosyncrasies of UD. From advertisements for Old Mill to UD dating spoofs, the jokes found in these films were ones to which most students could relate.

The first place winner was senior Shelby Flood and her film, “Time Travel: A Love Story.” In this film, the lead character, played by Flood, is on her way to take Dr. Richard Olenick’s Astronomy test. On her way, she passes through the Madonna arch and gets transported back to 1975. There, she meets a young astronomer and the two quickly fall in love. The film plays on many of the UD dating stereotypes, such as going to Mass together.

The astronomer then builds Flood a time machine so that she can return to the present day. Just before leaving, Flood gives the astronomer her watch as a token of her love. Back in the present day, Flood rushes to Olenick’s test. When she arrives, she notices the professor is wearing the same watch and realizes who the young astronomer was.

Flood got the idea for the film when she visited Olenick’s house for his Christmas party and noticed a photo of him from his youth.

“He was so cute that I told my friend that I was going to go back in time and marry him,” Flood explained.

Flood has been working on this film since last semester. She employed the help of many students and spent time in the university’s archives researching Olenick’s past and campus life in 1975.

“It was basically the coolest feeling in the world,” Flood said. “It was cool creating something that made people smile, laugh and even cry.”

In second place was Nguyen’s film “Second Chance.” Senior Amir Razavi plays the lead character, who experiences a terrible day when he wakes up late, missing both his test and the chance to ask out his crush. He discovers that the arch can transport him back in time to give him a second chance at his day. This time, the main character does everything right. Yet when he asks his dream girl out, she rejects him. He then realizes it was not meant to be and asks a different girl out.

“I was actually pretty pleased with my win,” said Nguyen. “We made it in one day. It was a lot of fun working with everyone.”

The third place winner took a more artistic approach. “Sleeperdust” by Joe Quinlan was a black and white silent film. In it, a creature causes all of UD to fall under its spell and fall asleep.

“It was cool to see the creative part of people who you might not normally see it from,” senior Laura Jauregui said of the film fest as a whole. “It was very UD-esque and was great to see UD laughing at all the little quirks we have as a community.”

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