UCTV, the University of Connecticut’s student-run television station, will be holding their first annual film festival on April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lawrence D. McHugh Building. 

In prior years before the COVID-19 pandemic, UCTV used to host small-scale film festivals that were limited to UConn students. But this year’s event is open to students from any colleges, universities and community colleges in Connecticut. The goal of this, according to UCTV Film Director Eli Jenkins, is to foster closer relations between UConn and other schools in the state. Jenkins particularly cares about this because he previously attended a community college before coming to UConn

“It was always like very different worlds,” said Jenkins. “It’s like, UConn’s over there doing its own thing, and we’re over here doing our thing and just trying to get by. I think it would be really cool if we could kind of bridge that gap with a lot of the smaller schools and make them feel like they have a connection.” 

UCTV also wanted to take the opportunity to do something “new and lively” for the student body that would be more exciting and engaging than other events like bringing in guest speakers, which they have done before. 

“We wanted to move away from bringing in a big guest speaker because a lot of the time, people don’t pay attention when they listen to guest speakers,” said Patrick Carlon, the Chief Executive Officer of UCTV. “So having something more engaging is something that we wanted to do.”

The overarching goal of the festival is to give an opportunity to showcase films made by students and highlight their creativity and talent. In particular, it gives Digital Media and Design students a chance to show to the public what they have been working on. 

“The DMD department has so many film seniors this year that they’re not sure they can show all the films,” said Carlon. “So it’s just a great way to have their films shown and get the recognition that they deserve.” 

But students of any year and major can submit films for the festival. Jenkins also said that these films are not limited to recent projects students have been working on, but any films they have made at any point that they want to showcase. Students are also allowed to submit multiple films they have made. 

Film submissions will be eligible for Audience Choice awards voted on by attendees or Judge’s choice awards voted on by a to-be-determined panel made up of both students and professionals in the film industry. This also gives students the opportunity to network with industry figures and get feedback on their work, something that Marketing Director Lauren Herrera said is another goal of the event.

“Another aspect that we want to make sure is that it’s not just like ‘Oh, come show your film’ and then not really get anything back out of it,” said Herrera. “You want to have people there that can give them positive feedback.” 

Carlon echoed Herrera’s sentiments, saying that the festival will be a great way for student filmmakers to build their recognition and confidence in the field. 

UCTV will also be hosting an after-party to allow for further networking and to celebrate the accomplishments of student filmmakers.

“At the end of the day, we just want to give students this platform,” said Herrera. “There’s no real competitiveness or high expectations, it’s just to celebrate that accomplishment.” 

Students have until Monday, April 8 at 5 p.m. to get their submissions in. Non-UConn students will have to pay a $10 submission fee. For more information, email executive@uctv.uconn.edu or marketing@uctv.uconn.edu, or visit UCTV’s website

Logo of the UCTV Film Festival via their website.