Finding worth in the imperfections: ‘Canes Film Festival 2023

Winners at the 'Canes Film Festival receive their awards at the Cosford Cinema on April 30. Photo credit: Paula Romanowski

In scientific terms, film is defined as the movement of light. But art enthusiasts would define film as people coming together and sharing the art that they have worked to put on screen, even for just a minute. That was the purpose of ‘Canes Film Festival, which took place at the Cosford Cinema from Apr. 28-30.

“We make films to show to an audience, so when the students get to show their films in front of an audience here, it’s the best thing,” said Ed Talavera, an award-winning cinematographer, graduate advisor for the motion pictures M.F.A. program, and faculty coordinator of the ‘Canes Film Festival.

Pre-professional film fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha and the Cinematic Arts department collaborated for the 25th annual student film festival, showcasing a wide range of student films from 100-level courses to graduate courses.

These films highlight a year of student work that likely came after multiple all-nighters and caffeinated drinks later.

“It’s just so great that everybody gets to show all the work they’ve done over the past year,” said Kennedy Diamond, a sophomore marine biology major and event organizer.

UM students gather at the Cosford Cinema to for Night 1 of the 'Canes Film Festival on April 28.
UM students gather at the Cosford Cinema for the 'Canes Film Festival from April 28-30. Photo credit: Paula Romanowski

On Friday, the festival screened films from lower-level courses like Introduction to Digital Filmmaking. This day featured mostly lighthearted content from students just beginning to learn the basics of working a camera.

On Saturday, the festival showed feature films along with 300 and 600-level course films. Sunday night showcased the remainder of the upper course level films and awarded some of the best current filmmakers in the motion pictures program.

Several short films were chosen for a showcase in Los Angeles this month. The selected films were “Cliffside Elephant,” “Dark Sea,” “Carlos Luna: Colors of Freedom,” “Los Colores de Marcia” and “Lucas.” A full list of winners can be found here.

The feature film showing experienced the majority of the festival’s technical difficulties.

There was a 30-minute delay in the programming, and the audience was informed afterwards that the wrong projector was used and films were shown in a lower quality than they should have been.

Graphic sexual assault scenes also appeared during the feature film showing, but audiences were not given a trigger warning beforehand..

Despite the issues during the weekend, the student films highlighted the uniqueness, complexity and creative potential of UM’s student body. For one weekend, the UM community joined together in celebration of theaters like Cosford that keep the power of movies alive.

The festival was a testament to the dedication and love of cinema among UM students.

“It’s about people coming together and watching all different kinds of films,” Christian Davila, a junior motion pictures major, said.