By Daltyn Lofstrom

International student films were screened throughout both days of the Headwaters Film Festival, hosted by the Integrated Media Department at the Upper Deck March 28th and 29th. The film of the evening of the 29th, “Back to the Future,” inspired the “Back to Headwaters Film Festival” theme and layout.

Debra Sea, the four-year advisor for the Headwaters Film Festival, commented on the diversity of the films, “The international films are excellent with production value, high budget, and they’ve admitted everything from thrillers to documentaries to animation.”

Much work was put into planning the festival with the class meeting twice a week since January. Calls for new films, however, started last October. Also, meetings with the festival’s co-directors, Samantha Bittner and Judson Therin, with Sea ran throughout Fall.

Bittner participated in this class last year and was so active she decided to apply to be a co-director for this year. Serving this role included overseeing the hospitality and judging management teams, helping with outreach and recruiting students for the class at the Fall Beaver Organization Bash.

Not everything was easy to manage. “A major challenge was getting people to take things seriously,” said Bittner. “This seems like an easy class, which it is and it’s fun. But when crunch time comes around, we need to get into gear.”

Bittner and Sea agreed their favorite part of the festival was seeing everything come together. Bittner added, “I’m glad we were able to cover the windows with black paper. It was cheap and sustainable and without it, we wouldn’t have been able to see the movies on the screen.”

The class, divided into various teams including promotions, social media, hospitality and programming, planned every detail of the festival. The first week saw the teams forming with three weeks thereafter reserved for planning. The next six weeks were spent viewing films, then the following week included judging and awarding. Results were presented at the festival the final week.

With in-class collaboration came success, according to Sea, who mentioned, “Some students get jobs and internships from this experience. It’s amazing when we transform Upper Deck and hold a successful event.”

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