Film festival empowers youth

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Described by student Brendan Swogger as an entertaining and “cultural day,” the Gateway Film Festival is an annual, international film festival hosted by Pacific University with the purpose of creating a community event in support of young filmmakers. Uniquely, the Gateway Film Festival features films from not only the United States, but countries all over the world like Iran and Germany as a way to support the youth in all communities. 

The festival began last year as a byproduct of Pacific’s Event Planning course — Media Arts 255/355 — and is an event built by students for the community. Gateway is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12 and will be screening approximately 60 films. 

It features films for ages 14-25 and accepts short film entries in documentary, narrative, animation and experimental categories. All submitted films are 15 minutes or under, allowing the Gateway Film Festival to showcase as many young artists as possible. The event will be held at the Forest Theater from 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will feature panelists, a multitude of screenings, an awards ceremony, and plenty of snacking goodies from Dutch Bros, Bella Donna’s Bistro and Patisserie, Slow Rise Bakery, and the Forest Grove Coffee Co.

The festival is free, with a suggested donation to keep the festival afloat. Though participation was a bit low last year, Brendan Swogger — head of Marketing for the festival — seemed hopeful for a better outcome.

“I’m hoping to boost marketing and really get the word out,” Swogger said. “We’ve been doing a good job thinking about every detail as well as featuring panelists and well known filmmakers.” 

Swogger stated the types of films wouldn’t differ much, but the festival gives both Pacific’s and Forest Grove’s community a rare opportunity to support young filmmakers and see what talent they have. 

“When an event is put on by Pacific, people think it’s only for Pacific students, but it’s for everybody — the larger community, all ages, families and even for those from out of state,” Swogger said, hoping to encourage a more inclusive attendance.

Although he’s new to Pacific and event planning, the eager student organizer showed excitement to see hard work come to fruition and watch the films submitted by young people around the world. 

The event planning course is available to any students looking to get involved with the film festival next year.


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