Celebrating months of work, select SFTV Bonn Study Abroad students premiered their documentaries at the 9th Annual Bonn Short Film Festival on December 14 at the Rex-Kino Cinema in Bonn, Germany. A panel of international industry professionals watched all twenty-four films and chose six to represent the diverse collection of works produced over the semester.
“I thought the films as a whole faced many of the challenges that we are facing in these trying times throughout the world,” said Associate Professor of Film Studies and Bonn Juror, Richard Hadley. “I think it was an impressive body of work, and I am glad that all films will be screened again at LMU.”
The selected films highlighted the breadth of talent and creativity among the students, from hard-hitting documentaries about social justice issues to light-hearted comedies about love and dating in the modern world. Falling into the former category, senior Austin Martinez’s reflection on domestic violence, “Her Hell’s a Home,” junior Paisley Sutton’s investigation into her family lineage and slavery, “Descendants,” junior Brady O’Hara’s coming out story of a German man, “The Birdcage,” and junior Kelly Muskat’s meditation on family and culture during terrorist attacks in Indonesia, “Bogowonto 5.” Aligning with LMU’s Jesuit calling to social activism, the four films showcased the students’ bravery to tackle difficult and personal topics. Meanwhile, junior Abigail Braccia’s comedy “Love, Abby” emphasized the range of individual capabilities of the film students. As the only screenwriting major in the program, Braccia arrived to Bonn with limited production experience, but utilized her creativity and storytelling experience to craft an entertaining and heart-warming film.
Attendees of the event included the LMU Engineering and Business, Arts and Communication students, the film composers and their professors from Musicube Academy, students’ host families, staff and faculty from Akademie fuer Internationale Bildung, friends and family from the States, film subjects, as well as LMU faculty and staff. Maik Schüren and his family saw him on the big screen in junior Hayden Blaz’s film “Zugabe,” which went on to win the Audience Award later that night.
“Having my film screened in a theatre was an unreal feeling,” said Blaz. “Being a transfer into the film school, sometimes I question if I’m in the right place, but being awarded made me feel like I was. Having Maik’s face light up when he found out we won was better than actually winning. My relationship with him has been the most rewarding and important thing I got from making this film. The audience fell in love with Maik and his story, my film just helped him share it.”
While the jury chose 6 representative films for the Bonn premiere, all 24 documentary films are being screened at LMU School of Film and Television over two nights on February 1 and February 2 in the Mayer Theater, at 7 p.m.
The screening schedule is as follows:
Friday, February 1:
Justus Ramming – “Poezenboot“, Alexis Rodriguez – “Annika”, Hayden Blaz – “Zugabe“, Asa Allegra-Berger – “Bleibt“, Nolan Jacobs Walker – “Decima“, Mackenzie Drewe – “A Little Bit Like a Picture Book”
Kelly Muskat – “Bogowonto 5”, Brady O’Hara – “The Birdcage“, Jake Jobe – “Vergangenheitsbewältigung“, Julia Deleon – “Atomic Artist”, Emily Malig – “Inter”, Abigail Braccia – “Love, Abby”
Saturday, February 2
Elissa Wallis – “In Good Company”, Cassius Pettit – “8 Levels Up”, Ellis Senger – “Die Nachtspielerin“, Laura Valentine – “Skovbørnehave”, Jamie Kolbrenner – “And It Was Good”, Kate Dudek – “Köbi und seine Kühe”
Paisley Sutton – “Descendants”, Austin Martinez – “Her Hell’s a Home”, Haley Schlicht – “We Can Be Loud”, Hayden Setlik – “Electronic Noise of Riga“, Calla Kelley-Renda – “Furusato”, McKenzie Fink – “Sonder“