Georgia Southern student films featured at Cannes Film Festival
Five Georgia Southern students joined the list of honored filmmakers and celebrities this summer at Cannes Film Festival in France.
Campus MovieFest (CMF), the world’s largest student film festival, visited Georgia Southern as part of its Fall 2015 tour. Students Kevin Dellinger, Madison Reynolds, Tahir Daudier and Richard Patrick worked on the short films “For Him” and “For a Moment,” which won the CMF Jury Award and gave them the opportunity to show their films at Cannes. Laura Hutson, sole creator of documentary, “Southern Mentality,” won the Jury Award and attended Cannes as well.
“It was fun! We got to dress up in tuxedos and go to premieres that Campus MovieFest provided us all access passes for. There were times, though, where there were tickets to some premieres you just couldn’t get, so you had to stand outside and beg. At one point, I got the entire CMF group to start singing ‘Lean on Me’ so we could get tickets, and it actually worked!” said Dellinger.
The student filmmakers had the opportunity to meet filmmakers, financiers and the most important international reps in the film business that could help them down the line in their film careers. Dellinger met a woman from his hometown, Savannah, Georgia, while standing in line for a premiere, who runs Big River Film Festival. He is working on making connections with her for work in the future.
“It is very important to exchange contacts and meet others,” said Hutson. “I met a producer from Morocco on my flight from Paris to Cannes, and he gave me so much advice and insight that I needed to hear. I stayed in contact with him all throughout the festival and intend to stay in contact with him. I know down the road if I go to Morocco I can find a job through him. All the people I met might not lead to a job right away, but by staying in contact and building the relationship it could definitely lead to something in the future.”
Hutson also had the chance to see 27-year-old Xavier Dolan, Canadian filmmaker, who had four in-competition films in the festival that won awards. “Most of the filmmakers in that part of the competition are world renown directors who are in their 40s-60s. He proves that it can be done at a young age, and it just made me want to work even harder,” she said.
In addition to industry veterans, the student filmmakers made connections with other student filmmakers from across the country as part of CMF. Dellinger recalled a night where they all sat around sharing previous projects, scripts and plans for future films.
“It was cool, ya know? You just get to see everybody’s different style choices. Especially in the way they did things,” he said. “Their whole brand of comedy and our brand of comedy and film styles colliding and mixing. Just talking about ideas.”
Reynolds said he plans to meet with these students in the future and to make films together.
The students said the festival wasn’t all business, though, and they had fun as well. They were able to see famous actors and directors including Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Woody Allen, Chris Pine and other celebrities who have served as their role models for making films.
Daudier was commissioned to take photos at a film finance forum. He was encouraged to stay and make connections with filmmakers after the forum but before he even left, he received a call from the Hollywood Reporter asking for his photos to be published in the next issue.
“It was kind of crazy to walk around and see thousands of people holding a magazine that had my photo in it,” said Daudier.
Daudier’s photograph wasn’t the only thing that was noticed at Cannes; The student’s films had an impressive turnout.
“We had the opportunity to pack a theatre. Our films, we couldn’t even watch them. I couldn’t even watch the screening of my film. I couldn’t get in. It was just that packed,” said Daudier.
After Cannes, the students attended Terminus, CMF’s Finals, in Atlanta. Each of the students had the opportunity for their film to be nominated to win an award, and Hutson was nominated for Best Documentary.
She created Southern Mentality to spread awareness about sex-trafficking. She drove from south Georgia to Missouri on Saturday morning, did the interview through the night and drove back home on Sunday.
Her work paid off when she received the award for Best Documentary. Hutson said, “A year ago I didn’t think this would be possible. It was such a big dream of mine and to have made it there is incredible.”
The students hope that Campus MovieFest will return to Georgia Southern University so others can have the chance they had to compete and maybe even experience the trip of a lifetime.
“It was an amazing experience and I hope CMF comes back to Georgia Southern again so the current students have the same opportunity we had to collaborate and network with people in the industry,” said Reynolds.