As the school year draws to a close, UCSB’s film studies department is abuzz. Why? Because before finals — and graduation — comes Reel Loud, the annual silent-film-meets-live-band event, slated to take place this Friday, May 24, at Campbell Hall. Now in its 22nd year, the Reel Loud Film Festival has become a staple for UCSB cinema lovers. And for 2013, it’s all about Alfred. (Hitchcock, that is.) The Master of Suspense acted as the guiding theme for this year’s fest, which means attendees can expect everything from horror to comedy to film noir in the lineup.
Like any film festival, Reel Loud starts with a call for submissions, and this year 10 short student films were selected to take part in the action. Filmmakers then paired off with musicians of their choosing to create all-original film scores, which will be brought to life in front of a live audience as part of the one-night-only event. In addition, Reel Loud has ditched the 16mm in exchange for an all-digital format, a fitting transition considering Hitchcock’s penchant for innovation. I recently caught up with Reel Loud director Hilary Campbell and producer Dylan Perry to discuss what they’ve got in store for year 22.
What initially drew you to get involved with Reel Loud?
Hilary Campbell: It’s a combination of all different types of art, which is why I really like Reel Loud. It’s music, it’s visual art, it’s theater, it’s film.
How did you guys come to settle on the theme of this year’s festival?
HC: It was one of the first things we talked about when I took over as director. I was thinking for a while, and my mom actually suggested we do Hitchcock, and I thought it was the best idea I ever heard. It’s great just because there’s so much you can do. … What’s really great about this year is that we ended up with a lot of dark movies but also a lot of movies that are funny and dark, which goes nicely with the Hitchcock theme and style.
Are there any submissions you’re especially excited about?
HC: Absolutely. There’s a really awesome movie called Birthday Boy that’s so funny. The premise is really simple; there’s a guy who thinks that all his friends forgot his birthday; and he gets sadder as the movie goes on. That one was directed by Chester Howe. There’s also a great campy slasher horror movie called Scout.
Dylan Perry: These coed scouts go out in the forest, and their scoutmaster has a hard time getting them motivated. At one point, things escalate very quickly, and it gets very entertaining. Then there’s Le Temps de l’Amour, which references a whole bunch of movies, from Quentin Tarantino to Psycho to Scream. And the editing is amazing.
Favorite Hitchock movie?
HC: Mine’s Rear Window.
DP: Absolutely Rear Window.
HC: We had a carnival two weeks ago to raise some money — but also to just educate people about Reel Loud and get more students interested and involved. As part of it, we did an outdoor screening of Rear Window out on the lawn in front of the Student Resource Building. That was really fun.
The Reel Loud Film Festival takes place this Friday, May 24, at UCSB’s Campbell Hall at 7:30 p.m. A preshow art reception begins outside the theater at 6:30 p.m. For info, visit reel-loud.com.