Feature: NCSU's Third Annual Pinwheel Film Festival

Note: This article was originally published in Technician on April 3, 2006.


Filmmakers and students enjoy Pinwheel Film Festival

Students and independent filmmakers flocked to the Witherspoon Student Center this past Saturday to take part in the Third Annual Pinwheel Film Festival. Started in 2004, the festival is known for its promotion of local and independent short films.

A total of 26 films were presented this year, many of which were made by students from N.C. State. Visitors were free to come and go as they pleased during the four-and-a-half-hour event, but on average there were always around 100 viewers in the theater.

The goal of Pinwheel is to offer independent filmmakers a venue to present their films to a wide audience, a point that wasn't overlooked by graduate student Staci Thornton.

"I have friends who have done movies before, and I had seen them on the small screen, but it was really cool seeing them on the big screen," Thornton said.

The festival was organized by Sonora Bostion, the chair of the Films Committee of the Union Activities Board.

"I think it went really well," Bostian said. "People seemed to really enjoy the films. They laughed and gasped when they were supposed to. It was nice to see all the students come to support their friends and family."

The festival included a variety of styles, including fictional narratives, music videos and documentaries.

The event was kicked off with Farmboy, a comedy about a teenager struggling with his self-identity. The film, directed by Elizabeth Bridenstine, a junior in communication, got many laughs at its portrayal of stereotypical "emo" traits.

"Pinwheel is a great event for students," Bridenstine said. "I worked on it specifically in the hopes of getting it shown at Pinwheel."

Among the audience's favorites was a documentary called Key West Cock Tales, which examined the phenomenon of chicken hunting in Key West. Another documentary, Needle to the Groove, was made by Dave Patterson, a junior in political science, and Tom Kevin, a senior in arts application, and focused on the Raleigh DJ scene. Both films received applause and cheers from the audience.

"We put it together for a class and I saw a chance to show it on the big screen for free," Patterson said. "Pinwheel really caters to independent filmmakers by not requiring submission fees."

Also memorable was Dryer, a one-minute short film about a man-eating clothes dryer, and the drama That Could Be A Problem. Many students found That Could Be A Problem to be one of the best films of the festival, due to its dark and sadistic twist ending. The short showed a conversation between a husband and his wife, which implied he caught her being unfaithful. The ending revealed that she was actually mentally ill, and had a fetish for seducing and decapitating younger men.

Other entries were more experimental in nature, such as L_216, which followed a man on a metaphysical journey of sorts and included both live-action and animation.

April Gehling, a senior in industrial engineering and vice president of the Union Activities Board, said she hopes to see the festival continue to grow.

"It's not Full Frame, but I hope within the next ten years filmmakers everywhere will be submitting their films," Gehling said.

However, even though it's still a relatively small event, many local filmmakers think that's a benefit rather than a disadvantage.

"It is smaller, but more student-oriented, which is good," said Eli Wallace-Johannson, a freshman in physics, who edited L_216.

Some students were at Pinwheel for the first time, including graduate student Siddharth Savadatti.

"I just wanted to find out what it was all about. I really liked it," Savadatti said.

Others, such as doctoral student Thorlidur Thorlofsson, are die-hard fans of the festival and come year after year.

"This is my third time here," Thorlofsson said. "I come to every single one."

The Pinwheel Film Festival is not a competition which separates the best from the worst. Rather, it is an event nearly anyone with a camera can participate in; all it takes is a vision and an envelope.