Silent but Screaming

UCSB’s 15th Annual Reel Loud Film Festival

by Stephanie Cain

What do silent short films, live musical acts, and art galas
have in common? “Cinematic Fusion,” according to UCSB’s 15th Annual
Reel Loud Film Festival. Challenging filmmakers to step outside the
traditional boundaries of sight and sound, this year’s celebration
draws 14 student films together with musicians, artists, and

“The Reel Loud committee pushed hard to expand the festival to
dramatic arts, the College of Creative Studies, and art. It’s not
just for the film major,” festival producer Emily Lu said. “We want
to acknowledge the whole college community and contribute to
creativity collectively.”

The Reel Loud festival showcases silent films set to live
musical accompaniment. A mere six-and-a-half minutes each, all the
films were required to be shot in 16mm, and directed and edited by
the filmmaker. In order to gain acceptance into the festival, it
was mandatory for the film to advance the theme in an innovative
and stimulating fashion.

The Cinematic Fusion theme “allows for interpretation rather
than a set definition,” said Lu. “We’re looking for experimental,
not just in the story line but in all aspects of the film.”

In this vein the Reel Loud committee selected a film that
juxtaposes colorful objects, an animation of rubber bands, and an
adaptation of Cinderella and Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of the Red
Death,” among others. Outlandish subject matter finds a home in
Reel Loud, too, such as Sister Mary Catherine’s Happy Fun-Time
Abortion Adventure, about a Catholic nun’s journey to abort her
love child, and I.V. Foot Patrol, which depicts the police unit as
the Nazi regime. Drama excites in El Sol Es Bello, the story of a
fatally ill socialite whose maid, brother, and friend vie to
inherit her pricey necklace. Fans of sci-fi will enjoy Float On,
which brings to life a comic-book story of a boyfriend’s quest to
rescue his kidnapped, superhero girlfriend.

The theme doesn’t end with the films. Each live band adds to the
fusion, but there will also be live acts between every few films.
One such act is UC San Diego graduate students Ross Karre and
Jeffrey Trevino’s Synchronism Project, a non-traditional art exposé
using three large, circular screens connected to a keyboard to link
images with sound. DJ Soulspeak and various dancers will complement
the pre-show art gala, which features photography, drawing, and

Each year the Golden Reel Award is presented to the film that
exhibits the most balance between unity, creativity, and interest.
This year, Reel Loud recognizes the other vital aspect to the
festival by introducing an additional award for Best Score. Judging
will be done by a panel of film experts and enthusiasts, including
the S.B. International Film Festival’s Roger Durling and Sidney
Kimmel Entertainment’s Annie Schmidt.

The 2006 Alumni Inspiration Achievement Award, which honors Film
Department alumni excelling in the industry, ties directly to the
festival. It pays tribute to the three initiators of the original
Reel Loud: Sandra Joy Lee, a k a “the roller girl,” Chris Ball, and
Dave Cash, a victim of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. As part of
the celebration, the committee is flying Cash to Santa Barbara and
paying for his accommodations to ensure his enjoyment in the
aftermath of the disaster.

Reel Loud is more than a public debut of amateur talent. It
serves as a support system for filmmakers, from students to
professionals who spend countless hours and put in endless effort
on film projects. “I produce the show because I want to celebrate
the efforts of these filmmakers,” Lu said. “It’s a festival for

4•1•1 UCSB’s 15th Annual Reel Loud Film
Festival is Friday, Maya 26, at 8 p.m., in UCSB’s Campbell Hall.
Tickets are $8 presale or $12 at the door. The pre-show art gala
begins in Campbell Hall at 6 p.m.


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