Notre Dame Film, Television, and Theatre presents the 31st Annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival

Author: Stacey Stewart

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The University of Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) announces the 31st Annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival, in the Browning Cinema at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, January 24 through 26.  

An annual launching pad for student filmmakers as they begin their careers in the film, television, and entertainment industries, the Notre Dame Student Film Festival screens films that were made by undergraduate students during the past year as class projects in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre. As in recent years, after each screening audience members will be invited to vote for their favorite film via text message. The Audience Choice Award will be presented to the student director(s) of the winning film after the final screening.  

“The Student Film Festival is really a window into the minds of current Notre Dame students,” says festival founder and FTT faculty member Ted Mandell. “If you look at the films as a whole, you will see the portrait of an undergraduate student, trying to make sense of this world, figuring out where they fit in, how they fit, and doing so quite artistically through humor, suspense, and frankness.”

The festival has featured the first films of future award-winning filmmakers such as Peter Richardson (2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award winner, How To Die in Oregon) and John Hibey (2012 Sundance Film Jury Award Winner for Short Filmmaking, Fishing Without Nets), as well as numerous others. It has served as the springboard for successful careers in every aspect of the industry, where ND Student Film Festival alumni have worked on everything from Saturday Night Live to La La Land.

Many films from past festivals have also been selected for national and international film festivals, including:

Shelter Me 2019 Arizona International Film Festival (Best Short Documentary), 2019 Atlanta ShortsFest Film Festival (Best Documentary Short)
Emma. – 2019 NYC Short Documentary Film Festival (Best Director Award), 2019 Harvard College Film Festival
Breaking the Cycle 2018 New York City Short Film Festival (Best Documentary Short), 2018 USA Film Festival (First Place Non-Fiction Short Film), 2018 Ivy Film Festival (Best U.S. Undergraduate Documentary)
Peace at the Pipeline  2017 San Pedro International Film Festival, 2017 Riverside International Film Festival
patrolling sandy hook - 2016 USA Film Festival (Winner, Special Jury Award), 2016 DocuWest International Film Festival (Winner, Women Who Doc Award)
Eat. Ride. Sleep. - 2015 Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Midwest Emmy Award Nominee
Curry & Erin - 2015 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival (Special Jury Prize, Collegiate Documentary)
The Suicide Disease - 2014 Sunset International Film Festival (Winner, Best Short Documentary)

Among the films featured in the 2020 Notre Dame Student Film Festival:

Sand Branch
Kelli Smith, Bella Martinez
Just outside of Dallas, there’s a small community with no access to clean water, and no shortage of love.

Sea Dogs
Ted Nagy, Ryan O’Callaghan
A search for backyard treasure leads to newfound brotherhood.

Notre Drinking 
Nicole Mannion
A University of Notre Dame student documents her drinking habits and wonders if there’s a problem here.

Tape Wizard  
Kilian Vidourak
Randall Taylor, aka AMULETS, is the Evel Knievel of tape looping, a process of recycling old cassette tapes into beautiful, imaginative music.

Beatty Smith, Brian Raab, Meghan Kelly
A cold search for clues between scattered woods, empty bars, and final exams.

Don’t Be Afraid to F*** Up
Gretchen Hopkirk
Finding your place in college is a funny thing for a close-knit group of Notre Dame students who just make it up as they go.

Brian Haimes, Joey Warner, Emily Ragan
Software malfunction. Memory lost.

Regular Poor Asian
Kenny Xu
Growing up Asian American in the Midwest means following the expectations of a majority white culture…or does it?

Hugh Flynn, Mary Crawford, Fernanda Urteaga Zambrano
A ballerina looks inward to be seen.

Sam and Peter Throw a Killer Party
Zach Lawson, Kenny Xu, Dan Docimo
The best costume at a Halloween party might not be a costume at all.

TICKETSTickets for the Notre Dame Student Film Festival are $7 for the general public; $6 for faculty, staff, and seniors (65+); and $4 for students. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 574-631-2800 or in person at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center ticket office (M-F, 12:00 – 6:00 pm). Tickets will be available online at on January 10.

Friday, January 24 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, January 25 at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Sunday, January 26 at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm*
*Audience Choice Award will be presented after the 7:00 pm screening on Sunday, January 26.

Running Time:  Approximately 120 min. Some films contain mature content.

PARKING:  Free parking is available daily after 5:00 pm in the Stayer Center parking lot, just north of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.  Patrons may now receive free event parking at the Eddy Street Commons Parking Garage by bringing your event tickets and parking ticket to the DPAC Ticket Office to receive a pre-paid parking voucher.

An accessible lot for disabled patrons is available immediately adjacent to the center; a valid hangtag or license plate is required.  There is a ten-minute parking zone on the north drive of the center for ticket pick-up; during inclement weather you are welcome to drop off guests in this area and proceed to parking.

Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre seeks to inspire intellectual inquiry and nurture creativity. We offer both a scholarly and a creative context for the general liberal arts student at Notre Dame as well as those students seeking intensive preparation for advanced study in these fields.  The hands-on nature of our curriculum, coupled with a very high degree of student-faculty interaction, provides students with a singular educational opportunity at a university known for its teaching excellence. The Notre Dame Student Film Festival is a direct outgrowth of the department’s academic program and an integral component of our students’ artistic development.

Originally published by Stacey Stewart at on January 07, 2020.