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OU film clubs given chance to create, showcase short films

Last Saturday, the upstairs theater of Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St., was packed with siblings, parents and faculty members. All the attendees shared a common interest: student-made short films.

The Fall Semester Premiere occurred from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and was a collaboration between Athens Video Works Studios, or AVW, and Rough Cut Collective. The purpose was to showcase a total of seven films, all created by students last semester. 

Rough Cut and AVW aim to provide resources and a platform for students to create and share their short film process. The entire process of constructing a short film is done exclusively by the students, including the writing, producing and editing. 

Treasurer and President of AVW, Akira Jakkson, a senior studying integrated media production, said his goal for the organization was centered around uplifting diverse perspectives.

“I particularly like to push within AVW (by) including diverse voices and diverse stories,” Jakkson said. “Emphasizing voices that are often underrepresented in the realm of Hollywood and media in general. I kind of want to encourage an atmosphere in which people can share whatever stories they have.”

Additionally, Jakkson has an interest in special effects and wants to provide a space for AVW members to learn about the realm outside of the classroom.

“I love to also put a lot of emphasis in special effects, in digital visual effects as well,” he said. “We don’t really have a whole lot of classes in (those) either, and I’m trying to be an outlet for that as well.”

Co-president of Rough Cut Bailey Perry, a junior studying games and animation, wanted to focus on recruitment efforts when she entered the role. She hoped to show inexperienced interested parties that making short films is not that intimidating as long as you are passionate.

“A lot of people come into this organization super inexperienced,” she said. “They really just want to learn how film set works, and I really wanted to put a lot of my time into showing them the ropes, showing them that they can do it because as someone who doesn’t come from a film background, it’s definitely very daunting, but it’s something that they can learn and do. It just comes with time and experience.”

Regarding assets of joining the organizations, both AVW and Rough Cut members seem to reap similar benefits.

“Mainly the connections,” Perry said. “Being a film major or in the film industry, you cannot do anything on your own and you’re always going to need help, and Rough Cut is a great way to meet like-minded people who are just as passionate about these projects as you are. Not only (can you) build your network here, but outside of school as well.”

Kaitlyn Kilmer, a sophomore studying media production, is the secretary for AVW. She said she joined AVW for the tight-knit community and the welcomeness the club offered.

“I just really love collaborating with people,” Kilmer said. “We always dig on group projects and how sucky they are, but it’s really nice when everybody is actually there to make it the best that it can be. It’s really enjoyable when you’re able to collaborate with people who are actually there to put the work in.”

Both Jakkson and Perry were very happy with the turnout at the premiere, and Jakkson said 146 out of the 199 seats in the theater were filled with spectators. 

Although the event was free, cash donations were accepted on the spot. AVW even made some baked goods to drum up some profit. The Senate Appropriations Commission funds the organizations and Jakkson said it helps immensely and makes their mission possible.

Perry said her favorite part of the premier was the end at the audience’s reactions to the films.

“Probably the lights going up when it was finished,” she said. “We put all this work into setting it up, and when everyone was clapping at the end … it was really cool.”

Jakkson said his favorite part was the opportunity to witness those new to the industry see all their work come to fruition. 

“We had a lot of newbies, and they were really, really stoked that the first films that they got to make were viewed by over 100 people,” he said. “I think that’s kind of given a lot of people some motivation for this upcoming semester in the next round of films.”

The next premiere will take place sometime in April. Some of Rough Cut’s films can be viewed on their YouTube channel, as well AVW’s can be viewed on their channel


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