ACM Film Festival brings student artists together

In order to provide a space for students of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) to showcase their work, the Lawrence University Film Studies Department brought the first ACM Film Festival to campus over the weekend of April 1-3. Eleven of the 13 ACM colleges participated, with each student participant sharing a film, screenplay, or academic paper.

Emmy Award winner and Artist-in-Residence of the Lawrence University Film Studies Department Catherine Tatge ‘72 conceived the idea for an ACM Film Festival about five years ago when hearing of the Ivy Film Festival hosted annually at Brown University. “I thought about it when I first started [working with the department],” Tatge said, “but now the faculty raised the money for it so we were able to put this together.”

While awards were given on the last day of the film festival, “It’s less about competition and more about getting students from different colleges together,” noted Tatge, “The ACM is always trying to think of ways to get the schools together and this, I think, is a perfect venue.”

Because the ACM Film Festival brings together students with liberal arts backgrounds, Tatge believes it has a unique value in comparison to other student film festivals. “A liberal arts background is key to being better filmmakers, because you have a lot more than just technical stuff to draw from,” she explains. “That’s why I think we [the ACM colleges] should support one another.”

Sophomore and Russian and Film Studies double major Tannah Marshall participated in the Narrative and Documentary film series. She, like many of the students, was showing one of her first films. In fact, “The Marshall Matter” was only the second film she made in her Introduction to Film Studies class in this past fall.

“I’ve realized I have the potential to do more than this class and make bigger things [like films],” Marshall said. “Having your film recognized certainly makes you feel better about it, so it’s very encouraging,” Marshall also described the film festival as a “huge plus for the Film Studies program,” in consideration of the department’s small size and short history.

While the ACM Film Festival brought together student artists, it provided many other benefits to the Film Studies Department. Students from the department were able to help coordinate the festival, participate as student judges and moderate film discussions after each section. The film festival also allowed student participants to gain insight from the four judges working in the film industry, three of whom gave workshops during the weekend.