Published on April 18th, 2017 | by dvasque2@illinois.edu


A Statement from The Programing Committee on the 2017 Official Selection

This year, we were thrilled to receive a record number of film submissions from 29 countries all over the globe. Of the more than 135 entries, we have selected 31 short films from 11 countries to screen at the 3rd Annual Illinifest Student Film Festival. We were impressed by the production quality, accomplished narrative storytelling and social relevance we saw across the spectrum of submitted films. That made our decision all the more challenging and we wish we could feature many more. We believe that as it stands, the Official Selection embodies our mission to celebrate both student and professional short filmmaking from throughout the Midwest and around the world with the growing film community in Champaign-Urbana.

    Illinifest is excited that 10 of those shorts are directed by women, making up 33% of the program (compared to the Cannes Film Festival, where women comprise only 15% of the program this year!). Though that percentage falls short of an equitable distribution, we can’t fail to note that it improves our record from last year and remains above industry-wide representation. Due to a number of submissions featuring fascinating and true human interest stories, we also welcome back the Documentary Block. We have scheduled this segment to preface one of our panels, “Art and Activism: What Responsibility Do Artists Have In Activism and Social Justice?” to engage in a broader discourse on important social issues.

    One such documentary, Do Not Come to Europe, is very politically relevant as it engages with Europe’s immigration crisis. Aside from the fact that it is well made, this film spotlights personal stories from refugees and allows viewers to reflect on their own role in this global issue. Another selection in the Documentary Block, Sanctuary, is directed by past Illinifest award winner Ashley Seering and tells the story of a community’s effort to repurpose an abandoned church. Capital is featured in our Midwest Student Competition and deals with a Muslim family’s financial struggles amid political turmoil and the lengths a father will go to for his unborn baby. Our World Competition is full of smart, character-driven dramas. Alda employs a cinematography style inspired by Faroese painter Sámal Joensen-Mikines to portray a woman’s story of love and loss. I Met You on the Radio is a one-actor film, in which a man searches for human companionship following a societal collapse. Casey has one of the shortest run-times in our selection this year, but its representation of a young girl’s battle with cancer and fear is not to be missed. These are only a few highlights in an Official Selection filled with films with engaging subject matter and we are thrilled to screen all of them.

    We are also pleased to offer a new segment in our program this year a selection of five films that form the Illini Student block. We are committed to giving University of Illinois students a platform to showcase their projects. In addition to the campus audience, we welcome the wider Champaign-Urbana community to Illinifest and wanted to include some films that were family-friendly. The earlier portion of the program will consist of films that all ages can enjoy. We have programmed a few animated shorts, as well as three films from last year’s local Pens to Lens Screening & Awards Gala.

    We are excited for Illinifest to continue to grow and become an important part of exploring film in an inclusive space. We hope that this festival will bring film lovers from campus and beyond together to celebrate artists using the medium of short film to tell compelling stories and start conversations.


Without further ado, here is the Official Selection for Illinifest 2017:

Call Me Rico
Do Not Come to Europe
Cada Gota Cuenta
Bert’s: Passing it Down

U of I Student
Running Back
Lance Lawson
Puddles Rainbow Missed
Pride and Prejudice

Midwest Student
Boxed In
The Fool
Big Time Music
Greens vs. Grills
Boy Astronaut
The Handbag

All About Emily
I Met You on the Radio
The Sky Between Us
The Goldfish
Burrito As a Pet

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