Pacific Students Hit the Big Screen

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McMinnville Short Film Festival showcases Boxer films

McMinnville Short Film Festival is a charming and eclectic festival. While some film festivals have central themes, like environmental films or horror films, McMinnville Short Film Festival is a grab bag of ideas and aesthetics. The festival started as an offshoot from McMinnville’s UFO Festival (you do know that aliens landed there in 1950, right?)—and the festival still has a sci-fi category, as well as horror and comedy ones. Along the way, though, MSFF has picked up more sincere categories—documentary films; short environmental films; a category for Native American films; a LGBTQ+ category; and with a nod to one of McMinnville’s most famous sons, Will Vinton, an animation category. (In the 1980s and 90s, with nationally recognized ads like the California raisins, Vinton helped kicked off the animation craze that has since spawned hundreds of movies; and, in spite of not being a short film, a documentary about his life will screen at this year’s MSFF).

   “Over the years (the festival) has really grown and is much more international,” explained Jen Hardacker, Chair of the Media Arts Department. “One of the charms about the festival,” she continued, “is that McMinnville is small, not much bigger than Forest Grove, and so it’s an opportunity to bring this international thing but still have that local community feel.”

   With a category for “local films” and also with filmmakers from 19 different countries, it is a great mix for students to jump into—and, on Thursday, February 23, the film festival will host a special screening of collected short films produced (and starring) Pacific students. Like the overall festivals, the mix and appeal of student films is broad, including a thriller about a student sent to a curiously bizarre science class, a documentary about a cat show, and a quirky stop-action animation with plastic yellow ducks.

   “There are at the moment eleven short films from a combination of alumni, mostly alumni, and current students,” explained Enie Vaisburd, Pacific University’s Professor of Film & Video, and a filmmaker hereself. She added, “To have that visibility, it’s a really good opportunity for students. We are excited that we are able to provide that.”

   Pacific University Student Showcase, Thursday, February 23, 7:45 pm, McMinnville Cinema 10, $8. McMinnville Short Film Festival, Thursday – Sunday, February 23 – 26, various show times. — Luciana Linares


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