Student filmmakers show off their work at annual Black Glasses Film Festival

Coepus Christi sophomore Christina Gray submitted two films, "Recipe for Love" and "Bridegroom," to the Black Glasses Film Festival, which takes place at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Waco Hippodrome. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

The Baylor film and digital media department will show off the best of its students’ short films at the 17th annual Black Glasses Film Festival next week. The show starts at 7 p.m. Monday at the Waco Hippodrome and will feature 19 original films written, directed and produced by Baylor students.

“This year we got an overwhelming and record-breaking amount of submissions, so we’re going to have a really wide variety of really awesome films that I think people are going to really like,” said Maverick Moore, a lecturer of film and digital media who is overseeing the festival. “There’s going to be something for everyone.”

Moore said each year’s festival is consistently bigger than the year before. Last year the festival was completely sold out, and Moore said he expects the same for this year. Tickets can be purchased at the Hippodrome’s website and are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Moore said events like this not only celebrate excellence in filmmaking, but they also offer students a glimpse at how the filmmaking industry functions outside an academic setting.

“It’s important because it allows them to see their film, with an audience, in a theatrical setting, which is how it works later on for most filmmakers,” Moore said. “It’s a really wonderful opportunity for the students and often a big stepping stone for them in their careers.”

Moore said the experience and exposure to wider audiences that the festival gives to Baylor students is often a kickstart for bigger and better things.

“The cool thing is that we usually premiere student films that later go on to achieve pretty remarkable worldwide attention,” Moore said.

Moore himself is a Baylor graduate whose film “Shotgun” won Best Picture at the Black Glasses Film Festival. It went on to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France. That showing led to its acceptance into several other film festivals.

The Black Glasses festival is split into two parts, one for creative submissions and one for submissions to the 10 Below Short Film Contest. While there are not any parameters for the creative submissions, the 10 Below submissions must be based on a biblical parable and run under 10 minutes.

Corpus Christi sophomore Christina Gray is entering the 10 Below contest with a film titled “Bridegroom,” a retelling of the parable of the 10 virgins. Drawing themes from the show “Bachelorette,” Gray said she tried to find a new perspective on the story while keeping the overall tone comedic.

“I tend to stick to lighthearted films that are very fun,” Gray said. “One of my favorite quotes is from Ashley Tisdale, and she said her goal in life is to make people laugh and be happy. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Austin junior Trey Dickerson is also submitting a film to the 10 Below festival. His work, “Between the Light and Dark,” is based on the parable of the candle that shouldn’t be hidden away.

While his 10 Below submission may be about shining a light, Dickerson’s second submission to the Black Glasses Film Festival, “Completionist,” entertains much darker themes.

“[‘Completionist’] is a rather dark film,” Dickerson said. “It’s about a game of wits between the hunter and the hunted. Often the line between hunter and hunted is very blurred.”

Gray’s second submission for Black Glasses, “Recipe for Love,” on the other hand, is a much lighter story about the intricacies of love and relationships shown through a lens of humor.

“The premise behind ‘Recipe for Love’ is that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. You see a woman manipulating the man she loves through food,” Gray said.

Gray said “Recipe for Love” stretched her in new ways as a director because, unlike with “Bridegroom,” she did not write the screenplay. She collaborated with Kirkwood, Mo, junior Ryan McNamara to write the script for the film.

“I’ve never really had that writer-director relationship with someone,” Gray said. “His opinion mattered most to me on whether I had done it well or not.”

For both Gray and Dickerson, the filmmaking process was extremely collaborative, involving whole crews of their friends and fellow Baylor students.

“Casting usually consists of me calling my theater friends and saying, ‘Hey, want to add to your reel?'” Gray said.

Dickerson said his films would not have been possible without the incredible work put in by the people who helped him film and edit his movies.

“I really hope my crew gets awards, honestly. If they get awards for all the work they put in that would be incredible,” Dickerson said.

The festival gives out awards for Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Cinematography and an Audience Award. There are also cash prizes for the winners.

Aside from the opportunity to earn some money, however, both Gray and Dickerson said having their submissions accepted to the film festival was important to them because it showed them that what they were doing was worthwhile.

“It’s kind of affirming because I always wonder, ‘Should I be doing film?’ Then something gets accepted into the festival, and I think, ‘Oh, maybe I’m not so bad at this,’” Dickerson said.

The most exciting part, Gray and Dickerson said, will be watching the films on the big screen with an audience of friends, peers and strangers.

“It’s an experience unlike any other when you see the visions of your head come to life,” Dickerson said. “You kind of get teary eyed when you hear the lines that you wrote being spoken by this actor who believes in the story that you believe in. That’s one of the best parts of working in film.”

While the film festival is a very exciting event for the filmmakers, Moore said it would also be a great opportunity for the community to come together, support one another and have a good time.

“We have everything from haunted houses to love potions to roommate pranks, murder mysteries, desperate bachelorettes, arguing narrators and even goofy paranoid rednecks, so theres a lot of variety for everybody. I think it’s just going to be a really good time at the movies,” Moore said.