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Students stage 16th annual Central Michigan International Film Festival

From left to right: Anne Carlini of WRIF in Detroit, Cynthia Canty of Michigan Public Radio, Julia Sikora, of Entercom media Detroit, CMIFF Festival Director Patty Williamson, CMU graduate Morgan Durfee and Eric Limarenko, co-director of "Breaking the Sound Barrier", pose for a photo Feb. 17 after a panel discussion for "Breaking the Sound Barrier." (Courtesy Photo)

The 16th Annual Central Michigan International Film Festival took place on-campus Feb. 13-17 in The Platform in Moore Hall, the Sarah and Daniel Opperman Auditorium in Park Library and at Mount Pleasant’s Celebration Cinema location.

The student-run festival showcased 24 feature films and five short film programs over its five-day run. Among the films shown were Oscar nominees "The Favourite" and "BlacKkKlansman," as well as several feature films involving CMU faculty and alumni.

CMIFF director and CMU School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts faculty Patty Williamson thought that the event went well, with attendance up from last year.

“Films at Celebration Cinema were well attended, as were the Oscar-contenders and bigger name features that played at Opperman Auditorium in CMU’s Park Library,” Williamson said. “Some of our foreign and independent films attracted decent-sized crowds, too.”

Alongside the more well-known features, several short film programs were exhibited, including ones highlighting student, international and female-directed shorts.

Plymouth fifth year senior Jared Ginder attended the student short film program, which featured a Q&A with several of the filmmakers.

“It's really cool seeing how people who are still going to college are able to come together and make films,” Ginder said. “It was interesting to see their thought processes for getting sets down, for how to get actors, especially as students, because it must be pretty daunting if you’re new to this kind of stuff.”

A big focus of the festival is international film. CMIFF receives a grant from the Tournées Film Festival, which pays in part for the festival and helps provide films to exhibit.

Romeo sophomore Madison Rose went to the international shorts program, an exhibition featuring some French films.

“French films are my favorite,” said Rose. “It’s really cool to see all the different cultures that are being represented, and also women. There have been a few events specifically for women and it’s really cool to see the representation.”

Along with Oscar winners and student films, CMIFF attracted the debut of Michigan-made movie, “My Soul to Keep,” on Feb. 16. Williamson said the film drew a large crowd, and audience response was positive.

Overall, Williamson considered CMIFF to be a success.

“The goal of CMIFF isn’t to make money, it’s really to bring great films to the community that folks don’t normally have the chance to see,” said Williamson. “We’re dedicated to bringing in a diverse array of independent, international and locally-produced films, and serve as a form of cultural outreach to both the campus and larger community.”