MFA Student Nate Hochstetler Starts First Annual Smartphone Film Festival

By Elizabeth Brown, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
November 20, 2014

Nate Hochstetler is a current MFA student in UCR’s creative writing department. During the fall of last year, he took a screenwriting course with Professor Charles Evered, and Evered joked that students should just make films on their iPhones if they didn’t have access to the necessary filmmaking equipment. Hochstetler took this simple joke and transformed it into the Smartphone Film Festival with the help of Professor and Chair of the department of UCR’s Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production, Stu Krieger, and fellow MFA student Lindsey Steffes.

Scheduled for December 3rd from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in INST 1128, the Smartphone Film Festival will include a screening of submissions, a panel of judges, and award presentations. The festival is open to all students, and submissions are due by November 27th. Hochstetler feels that by using the Smartphone as a medium for filmmaking, gives accessibility to many interested in filmmaking who would have never had the opportunity to share their stories. The digital age provides an opportunity for “non-traditional story tellers to approach filmmaking with the imagination of a child.” Similarly, Steffes remarks, “students can be filmmakers on a budget” by entering the festival, and feels that “Smartphones have democratized filmmaking.”

Hochstetler explains how the mission of the festival is to “break down the traditional Hollywood barriers of wealth and privilege” and to negate the notion that these status makers dictate the “means for people to be able to tell stories and produce.” Steffes adds that in addition, the “festival is all about finding art in the everyday” and allowing students to be “storytellers in their own right,” regardless of whether they have expensive equipment or not.

Recently, UCR has been ranked number one on the Times best list for universities, largely on the merits of the campus’s accessibility. This festival was partly inspired by, and aims to showcase this facet of the campus while allowing students to collaborate and “work together to produce affordable works of art,” as Steffes states.

For more information or to submit to the film festival, please send inquiries to nhoch001@ucr.edu. Entries must be no longer than 12 minutes long, with an R rating or below, and uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube. The facebook event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/542591319211065/

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