Student films screened at first-annual 512 Film Festival

Meara Isenberg

From a comedic film about prom to a documentary-style short where paintings come to life, the first ever 512 Film Festival was anything but ordinary.

Featuring a hodgepodge of student-produced, short-length films, music videos and documentaries, the free festival, held on Saturday in the Union Theatre, screened selections from across the country. The celebration of student film was organized by the Delta Kappa Alpha Cinema Fraternity to inspire filmmakers and newcomers alike.

“I hope the audience realizes how wonderful student film is and how talented people are all across the country,” said Sarah May, President of DKA and festival showrunner. “These stories that are just so unique and so different, we need more of them like that, and the only way to do that is to keep encouraging people who are doing this stuff.”

May, a corporate relations and radio-television-film senior, said this year’s focus was on diversity in the industry and displaying a passion for change.

Peter McCain, radio-television-film senior, took up the challenge with his film, “Manmade Objects,” which portrays a world where paintings come alive to protest the way women are depicted in art.

“While the film begins with a social justice narrative, it evolves into how social justice can evolve into social capital, where people can take social justice issues and use it for their own personal gain,” McCain said.

Taking a different approach to the year’s theme, Elias Hinojosa, radio-television-film junior, incorporated his personal experiences into his film “Lullaby,” a short that highlights a single mother’s sacrifice.

“Being raised by a single mom, I began to see the sacrifices she made my entire life — getting me where I am now, providing me with an amazing childhood,” Hinojosa said. “This movie essentially is a dedication to my mom and everything that she sacrificed.”

Hinojosa, who took away the award for best film at the festival, said that today’s film students and media creators are modern-day pioneers in a media landscape that is still not fully explored.

“The film community, especially in Austin and at UT, is just getting stronger and stronger every day,” Hinojosa said. “We as young people know how to explore and how to navigate through the changing media landscape. The films here today and the people putting on this festival, it’s just the beginning for everyone, and it’s exciting.”