The 16th annual Ivy Film Festival kicks off today with keynote speaker Jodie Foster at 11:45 a.m. at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. The IFF, the world’s largest student-run film festival, expanded this year to include satellite festivals at all eight Ivies as well as New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Stanford University and Northwestern University.
The IFF screens student, faculty and Hollywood films and invites guests to give speeches on relevant issues in the entertainment industry. IFF aims to give the student body and filmmaking community in Providence “opportunities to interact with industry professionals and interact with film in new and exciting ways,” said Angela Guo ’16, executive director of IFF.
This year, events include a variety of free screenings, such as “Krisha” — followed by a Q&A with director Trey Edward Shults — and “Remembering the Artist,” followed by a panel featuring Robert De Niro. Despite these big names, the focus of the festival is the student films, said Solveig Xia ’17, another executive director of IFF. “Since day one, IFF was created to really be a platform for student filmmakers and screenwriters around the world to have their work showcased and celebrated,” Xia said.
Five hours of programmed content will be screened, amounting to 25 student films, Guo said. This year, around 500 films were submitted from all over the world to four competition categories: domestic, international, graduate and screenplay. Though the total number of submissions doubled from last year, no extra films will be shown.
This increase in submissions, in part due to expanded outreach efforts, allows IFF “to become as professional and selective as possible, getting the best films out there,” said Nadim Silverman ’18, publicity coordinator of IFF.
Since its inception in 2001, IFF has expanded dramatically. “This is the first year that the Ivy Film Festival is living up to its name as the Ivy Film Festival and not the Brown film festival,” Silverman said. The IFF team spent the last year reaching out to contacts at other schools so that all of the Ivies, “as well as other film-minded schools,” could take part in the festival, Silverman said.
This year marks the first year that all IFF showings will be screened on these other campuses through satellite festivals. “The expansion is one way for us to really take that one step further, allowing these films to be celebrated at other campuses, by other students,” Xia said.
In order to pilot this growth, IFF changed its publicity strategy. Last year, IFF focused its efforts on on-campus advertising, said Keillor Irving ’16, another publicity coordinator for IFF. But this year, the coordinators “changed up how the publicity department was shaped” and divided staff members into separate teams that “each addressed a separate aspect of publicity this semester,” Irving added.
Despite doubling its film submissions and initiating satellite film festivals, IFF “found ways to expand within the budgetary constraints,” Irving said. “A lot of the expansion we did was through the efforts of staff without straining the kind of resources we already had at our disposal.”
Correction: A previous version of this article and summary deck stated that the number of submissions was 449 films. In fact, the number of submissions was about 500. The Herald regrets the error.