Black Warrior Film Festival showcases students’ creative filmmaking

Claire Yates, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama’s annual student-led Black Warrior Film Festival will showcase students’ filming, producing and editing abilities. The three-day hybrid event, from April 8 to April 10, provides an outlet for students to display their films to a large audience in a film festival environment.

Other events are held throughout the year leading up to the festival to connect film lovers together. Some of the upcoming events include a Halloween-themed trivia night at Loosa Brews on Thursday, Oct. 14, with prizes and a costume contest. 

“Our goal is to create a community where student filmmakers can meet and learn from industry professionals, network with other filmmakers and celebrate film,” said Kailey New, the director of Black Warrior FIlm Festival and a senior majoring in creative media.

The event will be held in the UA Student Center in a hybrid format this year. VIP panels and the award ceremony will be hosted on Zoom, and film screenings and a workshop will take place in person.

The organization encourages students to think outside the box and create any film that appeals to them. There is a filming, editing, script-writing and producing process for creating these films.  

Students from other schools submit films, including University of California, Los Angeles, Florida State University and other schools around the nation. 

BWFF’s industry director reaches out to students at other colleges to inform them about this opportunity. Students also learn about BWFF on social media, on the submission website and through direct communication. 

Student films are presented on the big screen for the festival’s programming committee to watch and vote on.

The programming committee is New’s favorite part of the festival because students can see examples of a “wide range of films when it comes to genre, theme and quality,” and it helps them form personal goals for their own film styles.

Many of the directors are also involved with creating UA short films. New is directing her first short film this semester for her Directing Capstone class. 

“My film is a dramatic thriller titled, ‘Enter the Panic Room,’ which explores the idea of getting lost in a good book,” New said. 

Ally Weinstein, a sophomore creative media major and programming co-director for the Black Warrior Film Festival, is creating two films called “Joie’s Bonnet” and “Paper Rat.”

In her films, she wants to demonstrate creativity and hard work. Films can take up to two semesters to perfect.

Weinstein enjoys being surrounded by people with the same interests as her, and she is thankful she made “connections with great people just this semester because of Black Warrior Film Festival.”

Mary Coleman Coats, a senior majoring in creative media and the media director for the Black Warrior Film Festival, plans to create a documentary after she graduates. Coats said the festival is a great outlet for students to grow so that in the future it will be much easier for them to create a film. 

Black Warrior Film Festival is a place to not only make films, but for students to learn and meet industry professionals, network with other filmmakers and celebrate the big screen.

“My favorite part about the festival is getting to know the people I am working so closely with, and also to connect on campus within my major and connect to possible jobs outside of UA,” Coats said.

For students who want to get involved, they can submit a film to the director and  become a part of the organization. For others who want to watch the films, admission is free. People can also attend the VIP panels to learn from industry professionals and participate in a Q&A session.

“You can attend our screenings, which are split into blocks for each genre, so guests can pick and choose which type of films they want to see, but we highly encourage staying for all the blocks to see the great work students have put into these films,” New said. 

To learn more about the Black Warrior Film Festival, check out the festival’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Questions? Email the Culture desk at culture@cw.ua.edu.