The McKellar room, located on the second floor of the UCC.

Erika Pepe // London, Ont. // March 19, 2024

Eleven student films are set to debut tonight at the Western Undergraduate Film Society’s (WUFS) annual Film Festival, with four prizes up for grabs. 

Co-Presidents of WUFS Adam Bento and Dhiren Dhoum have been planning the festival — which will take place in the McKellar Room from 6 to 9 p.m. — with their executive team since September. Bento said the WUFS festival aims to simulate film industry events.

“Films make culture. Films are a reflection of culture,” said Bento. “A lot of people [in this festival] come from different backgrounds. Maybe they’re transgender, maybe they have issues with their Asian culture they want to talk about. And they want to express that [we’re] the next generation.” 

After screening 11 entries, three Western film professors will individually critique and award prizes to the top three. The audience will also give out a viewer’s choice prize. Each award is monetary with a value between $200 to $250. 

Previous winners have been decided based on what breaks convention and respects film as a medium, according to Bento. 

Joshua Matthew’s Do You Fit In With the West? is one of the short films that will be screened tonight. Matthew is a third-year computer science student, with this being his festival debut. 

The film is a critique of Western culture—both Western University and the global west, said Matthew. Through fashion and music, the film explores why people do the things they do and Matthew’s’ “dislike of people not being consciously free of their actions,” he said. 

For Matthew, the festival is not only a way to showcase his work, but also to meet other passionate individuals to experiment and collaborate with on future projects. 

“If I win or lose [tonight], it doesn’t matter. If this film doesn’t make it onto bigger festivals, that’s fine. My next film will,” said Matthew. “I’m going to keep creating until I can’t anymore.” 

Society is infatuated with overnight success, said Matthew. He said this festival is a way to break barriers by showing people the intricate behind-the-scenes of people who are passionate, not prodigies. 

“People have the misconception that [the only good films] are the ones in theatres or on Netflix,” he said. “You’re just looking at famous people—you’re not looking at the people that are on the come up.” 

While Bento and Matthew are examples of students using the festival as a jump into the industry, others like Dhoum use it as an outlet to explore a side passion. 

“I’m choosing a life of security,” said Dhoum, who plans to attend medical school after graduating this spring. “[Adam and Joshua] are daring enough to be able to [be artists]. And to be able to see what that’s like is why people should [come to the festival].” 

The festival will begin at 6 p.m. in the McKellar Room and is free to enter. Pizza, popcorn and refreshments will be provided.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *