On Sunday, May 1, the University will host its biannual student-run Intercollegiate Film Festival (BIFF), formerly known as ’Reel Bucknell, at the Campus Theatre. The festival will show student-made films from across the state of Pennsylvania.
This year’s film festival will premiere 15 films, from eight Pennsylvania schools including one film from University student Nghia Le ’24. Featured films vary from animation to drama to horror, so no two films are the same.
BIFF is a product of the Film Exhibition and Programming class, taught by Professor Rebecca Meyers. Using the website FilmFreeway, the class posted a call for Pennsylvania student filmmakers with the only requirements being that the films are less than 15 minutes long and that they were produced while the student was enrolled as an undergraduate at a Pennsylvania institution of higher learning.
Over 100 films were received and went through a series of rounds of selection to actually be featured in the festival, which will run around ninety minutes.
Students in the class were each given four to five batches of five films to score from 1-5, with 5 meaning that the film must be featured at the festival. Once the class votes were tallied, those with a decent amount of votes were brought to the class to watch as a group to vote as either a yes, no, or maybe. While there were initially 12 yes films, students could argue for a film in the maybe pile to be featured, which added the extra three.
Branson Wilson ’25, a student in the class and the BIFF social media manager, is excited for people to see the hard work of the class pay off and to be able to feature the selected student work.
“BIFF is a great way to showcase Pennsylvania student filmmakers and expose people to their films. We want the filmmakers to know that what they are doing is incredible and should be seen by other students and filmmakers. I’m looking forward to sharing the concepts and ideas that the filmmakers have created with students, professors and residents in Lewisburg. I can’t wait to talk with some of the filmmakers and guests and get their reactions to each film,” Wilson said.
Filmmaker Le is also extremely excited about being featured in the film festival. His film is called Land of the Lost, based on an idea he’s had since childhood about losing something and it vanishing off of the face of the earth and ending up in some other alternate plane of existence. The film was a final project for his Film/Media Production class, also with Professor Meyers. Besides Le, two other University students were involved in the production: Nguyen Nguyen ’23 as the actor and Minh Bui ’23.
“All the work is worth it though, because this is the first short film I’ve ever done, the first one I ever submitted to a festival, the first one to get selected into one, which are all the things I’ve dreamt of achieving, and I’m so proud of myself. A classmate of mine recently told me that he sometimes thinks back on my film, and that’s all I want out of moviemaking. I hope this will be the first step towards my growth as a filmmaker, and hope also that all those who watch my film can take something out of it,” Le said.
The last BIFF was held in 2020 and had to be moved online as a result of the sudden transition to online learning at the start of the pandemic. The festival live-stream screened its 15 films on Vimeo and was followed by a Q&A session featuring the filmmakers. But this year, the film festival returns to its full in-person glory and is open to all students and members of the community.
“I would recommend BIFF to anyone who wants to support their fellow students from across Pa. It’s a great opportunity to come and watch some incredible films at the magical Campus Theatre and get some food and merchandise afterward. It’s also a great way to get exposed to something new and fresh and it could even inspire some people to want and go out and create their own films,” Wilson said.