Student filmmakers screen their work at VideoPalooza

December 14, 2009

By Jonathan Slade, associate professor of Communication

Nearly 200 people attended each night of VideoPalooza 2009, making it the biggest turn-out yet for McDaniel's annual showcase of student-produced digital features. Among those in the audience were film and video alumni who are currently working in the field, as well as one filmmaker's family who flew all the way from Colorado to attend both nights of the two-day event.

Seven student filmmakers screened their work in front of the raucous crowd, and many brought their cast and crew along with them. On the first night, audience members got to meet firsthand the Mason-Dixon Roller Vixens featured in Zoe Ubaldo's rock-em-sock-em roller derby documentary as well as the twin brothers – both military veterans – central to Tom Wach's poignant Vietnam documentary "Home."

On the second night, the Phi Mu sorority serenaded the crowd with a verse of “Dem Girls” after the world premiere of Courtney O'Grady's documentary which followed their fall 2009 pledge class for 8 weeks.

Other highlights include filmmaker Tyler Carr's admission that he had difficulty staying up all night to chronicle the lives of the two nocturnal students featured in his documentary “Day For Night,” filmmaker Brenton T. Green's self-consciousness about his actors running around Hanover, Pa., in super-hero costumes for his comedy "Blue Beacon," and filmmaker David Castle's thank-you to his collaborators.

“The other filmmakers here tonight started out with a picture in their heads, and had to find the paint to make it happen,” said Castle. Nodding to his cast, who largely improvised the scenes in his comedy “Bromance: A Jockumentary,” he added, “But I started out with the paint, then these guys helped me find the picture.”

Filmmaker Nick Green's “Bio Adversity,” the story of a senior Biology student struggling to find a meaningful job, also resonated with an audience of undergrads, many of whom share a similar concern.

“It was really great to finally see it all come together after working on it for more than a semester,” Nick Green said. He shot several scenes with family members during the summer, then still managed to include them, even as his script continued to evolve during the fall capstone course.

Film apprentices toast the Film & Video Studies program at McDaniel. From left are seniors Courtney O'Grady, Tyler Carr (wearing black), Nick Green, actor Max Robinson, Zoe Ubaldo, Tom Wacht (directly behind Zoe) and Sam Paxton. Not pictured are Brenton Green and David Castle.

Immediately following each world premiere screening, each filmmaker received a certificate congratulating them for completing their McDaniel College Filmmaking Apprenticeship, along with a copy of MovieMaker Magazine's 2010 Guide to Independent Filmmaking.

VideoPalooza 2009 was co-sponsored by McDaniel College's Communication Department, and the campus's student-run cable channel Terror TV.