NextFrame, the University Film and Video Association (UFVA) touring festival of international student film and video, took place Oct. 2-8 in Tuttleman Hall.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, films were shown at the Prince Music Theater.
After its premiere in Philadelphia, NextFrame, the largest festival of its kind in the United States, will tour the country before going abroad.
Well known to independent film fans, NextFrame, in its eighth year, aimed to display the works of student filmmakers.
NextFrame this year received 412 entries, from which a prescreening panel selected 82 works that were screened at the festival.
Past filmmakers whose works have screened at NextFrame have attained success. Kimberly Pierce, the director of Boys Don’t Cry, had a film play at the festival. Academy Award-winning actress Hillary Swank has acted for a film screened at NextFrame.
Located in the basement of Annenberg Hall, in the Film and Media Arts (FMA) department, NextFrame’s small office is where the festival was planned and directed. Temple graduate students Vanessa Briceno and Brian Johns were the directors of NextFrame. Both were very excited about the festival and the opportunity it gave student filmmakers.
“It’s really a great feeling being a filmmaker and a student and to get exposure,” Briceno said.
Johns explained that the purpose of NextFrame was “to exhibit quality independent work.”
The film’s message, meaning, originality and creativity are factors taken into consideration in choosing films for the festival.
“We truly are an independent film festival,” Johns said of the “weird hypocrisy” that surrounds independent films. He explained that although some films label themselves independent, Hollywood pays for them. At NextFrame, the students paid for everything themselves.
Disappointed with the low turnout, Briceno hoped more people would have attended during the weekend when the festival played at the Prince Music Theater.
“The $25,000 annual budget given to NextFrame by Temple could be one of the causes for the lack of promotion,” Johns said. “We don’t have a lot of money. The festival needs at least $300,000 to run.”
However, he mentioned that there is interest from some people on the West Coast. Last year, a board was formed with Temple alumni, who offered advice. Johns explained the backing of various other departments.
“The faculty have always pushed for support for the festival,” he said.
“I’m surprised not many people are here, considering the size of the FMA department,” said history graduate student Darren Bardell, one of the few audience members. He said that the poor photography and rawness of the films made it more real for him
“[NextFrame is] definitely very interesting,” said Ben Allen, a graduate student from Rutgers University in New Brunswick. He liked the films because they stimulated the mind and he thought about them afterwards.
Shanti Thakur, 35, whose documentary Seven Hours to Burn won first prize in its field and an editing award, is now a full time professor in the FMA department.
Thakur’s parents are Indian and Danish. Seven Hours to Burn, her MFA thesis documenting the parallel wars her parents went through, has won nine awards and will have played in 30 film festivals by the end of November. Next year, Cannes Film Festival will hold screenings of the film.
“I think it’s a wonderful festival. It’s amazing to be asked to put [together] such a broad range of material with such a small staff,” Thakur said of NextFrame.
NextFrame began in 1993 when graduate student Dave Kluft suggested screening a sample of quality student films at the annual UFVA conference held at Temple. After word got out, 315 entries were given out, and nine were chosen for the conference. Thanks to the tremendous response, the festival continued the following year. Since then, the festival has grown tremendously, and a NextFrame program has been permanently established in Japan.
To learn more about NextFrame, visit www.temple.edu/nextframe.