Students experience WorldFest

Fabian Brims, Staff Writer

A student’s life can be pretty tough. Papers, projects, and deadlines can be overwhelming so a little distraction, like a movie, is like pure gold. How fortunate that HCC was able to provide stressed students with VIP Gold Passes to WorldFest—America’s longest-running independent film festival that took place in April here in Houston.

This gold pass opened many doors at the festival. The students had access to hundreds of short and feature films, all nine seminar master classes, and even to the opening night premiere with the champagne gala.

For a film lover, watching as many movies as possible is the most fun. This year they showed a wide range of films as well as many shorts, curated in 2-hour blocks. There were comedies, dramas, thrillers, horror, science fiction and even a western movie in the program.

Of course not every movie was perfect, but the HCC future filmmakers had the chance to see what other students, graduates, and film veterans are doing. By either getting inspired or learning from other’s mistakes, every screening provided not only entertainment, but also education for aspiring directors, writers, and producers.

Among my favorites this year was the coming-of-age-drama ‘Coming through the Rye’ from Jim Sadwith, the Indian drama ‘The Bridge’ from Amit Ranjan Biswas and the comedy ‘The Truth about Lies’ from Phil Allocco. Allocco attended the screening and answered questions after the movie, which is just a small selection.

The nine master class seminars also provided a wealth of information for students and interested people, but more than that, they were excellent opportunities for networking, meeting peers, and making connections in the industry.

It is always the hardest to get your foot in the door, but the friendly atmosphere at the WorldFest provided a relaxed forum where it was easy to get in touch with people.

The seminars were held at the Doubletree Hilton Plaza Hotel. They included scriptwriting, directing for cinema, acting unions, drones and more, and were led by experts from the industry like Shawn Welling, Casey Kelly and Gary Chason.

They were able to share their knowledge and experience and they patiently answered many questions from the audience.

My favorite seminar was Nick Nicholson’s insight on the life of a movie critic. He has the type of personality you enjoy listening to and he told us some funny anecdotes from Hollywood—I enjoyed it.

At one of these seminars I ran into Vinod Patel, another HCC student who got a VIP Gold Pass. In addition to attending the movies and lectures, Vinod decided to apply his skills to make a documentary about WorldFest.

Next year, WorldFest will will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. Patel filmed plenty of interviews with festival staff, filmmakers, and members of the audience and was also able to get his hands on archival footage of previous festivals. He is currently working on editing the documentary, which may be in the next year’s program.

It would be such a great success for HCC and its collaboration with the WorldFest if next year one of our students makes it into the festival’s program. Good luck, Vinod!