Student films to screen in Cashiers

art chaosfilmSome of the most riveting and moving student-created films from Western Carolina University’s Controlled Chaos Film Festivals in recent years will be shared at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17, at The Country Club of Sapphire Valley.

The inaugural ‘Best-of’ Controlled Chaos Film Festival will open with a reception, followed by a 90-minute screening of the most entertaining student films from the past five years. The lineup will include two longer senior project films and shorter films ranging from 15 seconds to four minutes.

Students in WCU’s School of Stage and Screen write, direct, perform, film, edit and produce the films and incorporate musical compositions created by students in the Commercial and Electronic Music Program and title sequences developed in the School of Art and Design.

WCU established the Film and TV Production Program in 2006 and launched the festival in 2009 as a way to celebrate student work throughout the year. The event was named “controlled chaos” — the phrase Jack Sholder, director of the program, uses to describe the process of filmmaking. Almost 90 percent of the program’s graduates go on to work in the industry, and the films they create as students win awards. Susan Belcher, wife of WCU Chancellor David Belcher, stepped forward to co-chair the festival after Marcia Shawler of Cashiers inquired about the possibility of sharing student films with the Cashiers community. Shawler, president of Mountain Youth Charities in Cashiers, was involved with a fundraiser last summer for which a WCU team from the Film and Television Production Program created a four-minute, documentary-style film centered on the organization and needs of at-risk youth.

In addition, attendees will have the chance to bid on the opportunity to have students and faculty in WCU’s Film and Television Production Program create a short custom-made film, either a promotional short film or family documentary.

An award-winning Hollywood director and screenwriter at the helm since the inception of the WCU program, Sholder served as an editor on the documentary “King: From Montgomery to Memphis,” which was nominated for an Academy Award; won an Emmy for his editing work on “3-2-1- Contact,” and directed such blockbusters as “Nightmare on Elm Street II” and “The Hidden.”

Tickets to the Best of the Controlled Chaos Film Festival are $75. The money raised will assist students with making senior project films, which typically cost upward of $5,000 to create, and acquire much needed equipment for the program.

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