The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Bijou Open Screen will showcase amateur and student films this weekend

Anthony Vazquez

Student and amateur filmmakers will have the opportunity to showcase their work for an audience this weekend during Bijou Open Screen.

Budding filmmakers submitted films to the Open Screen board, and the members selected nearly 10 videos to make it to the big screen at 5 p.m. Saturday at FilmScene, 118 E. College St. Sal Goedken, the chair of Open Screen, said the members selected works that are well-shot, well-edited, and not bigoted.

“It’s different with student films; they’re not always Hollywood blockbusters, they’re not always the most beautiful things ever to be made, but we select things that show a lot of work or a lot of potential,” she said. “Things that we think are good and want to have reflected on us as a club.”

Open Screen takes place each semester and offers first-, second-, and third-place cash prizes of $150, $100, and $50, respectively, to support new filmmakers. While most semesters only see a handful of submissions, Goedken said, this semester had nearly 30 submissions, the most Open Screen has had.

The number of films selected depends on the running times, Goedken said. This year, the running time for all the videos added up to an hour.

“Bijou has the opportunity to exhibit student work, which is really exciting when you’re just starting out; getting into film festivals is huge when you’re a filmmaker, and we also want to support young filmmakers financially, because films are expensive to make,” she said.

University of Iowa sophomore Molly Bagnall, a Bijou board member, submitted her film, the second one she’s made, to compete at her first Open Screen. Initially, she created her film, “Hunger For,” for a cinema-class final.

“I kind of took mine in a direction that’s different from most of my peers. It’s hard to describe, it’s experimental,” she said. “It’s about four people, who are just me and three of my friends in my apartment, and it centers on themes and images that I’ve found keep coming up in my life and that are important to me. The movie Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock, plays a prominent role because that movie has been important to me in the past two and half years.”

Bagnall said that events such as Open Screen allow for creators to present more experimental and avant-garde creations.

“It offers an avenue for student filmmakers and amateur filmmakers here in Iowa City to show work, and that’s something that they don’t get to do often,” she said. “It’s very low risk; they accept almost every one unless they’re crunched for time and get too many submissions. It’s a supportive group and a supportive crowd.”

For filmmakers such as UI senior Maeve Schmitt, Open Screen is a step in the right direction for a career in screenwriting. Schmitt has made films since coming to the UI, and her film “On Three,” is her third submission to Open Screen.

“On Three” follows a man struggling throughout his day.

“He’s trying to get past the things that make him anxious, and ultimately, he can’t get through it,” she said. “You can see throughout the film how small things in his life end up building and causing him anxiety. It’s more of an abstract concept.”

Schmitt said that Open Screen allows a new and live audience to be exposed to amateur films.

“Sometimes, I feel like it’s hard to get your videos out,” she said. “You can post it on YouTube, and you can post it on Vimeo, but you can’t guarantee that people will sit there and actually go through it and find it online.”

When: 5p.m., Saturday

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About the Contributor
Naomi Hofferber, Arts Reporter
Nathaniel Hofferber is a fourth-year University of Iowa student, and reported on arts and works as an audio producer at The Daily Iowan. Hofferber has been with the DI since the start of his freshman year, serving as a news reporter covering city council and social-justice issues, before becoming News Editor his sophomore year and Arts Editor junior year.