The movies of the M-agination Student Film Festival were hilarious, touching, beautiful, simple, filled with dumb jokes, kind of embarrassing, and delightful — all at the same time. The festival brought 16 films to a packed audience in the main screening room of the Michigan Theater, each of them made with clear enthusiasm and love for the craft.
The festival kicked off with “Cheater,” directed by LSA Junior Mike Boctor, which depicted with weird and wonderful accuracy the weird lengths people will go to to cheat on a test. Action movie music was used, people got stabbed in the eyes with pencils, the audience was shaking with laughter. Then there was the deeply strange “Jam,” directed by LSA Sophomore Gabriel Wolfe, about a serial killer who drank blood only the blood was jam. I think any more explanation would undercut the absurdist hilarity of the film, so we’ll leave it at that.
The highlight of the festival, though, was “Anna Garcia Does a One Woman Play,” directed by LSA Senior Anna Garcia. It tells the story of the highly intense, overbearing and imaginative Anna Garcia as she browbeats her friends to come see her one-woman show. Filmed with a careful eye for well-framed shots, colorful and soft lighting, and edited with a precise sense of comic timing, “Anna Garcia” was just a genuinely good story. Not just good for a student film, but honestly engaging and well-told. The audience seemed to agree and greeted the film with wild applause.
There were some more somber outings as well — the beautifully filmed, voice-over heavy meditation on loneliness and youth as it relates to college that was LSA Junior Dylan Hancook’s “Millennia”; the tense exploration of a miserable relationship in LSA Senior Nikita Mungarwadi’s “Cracked”; and LSA Senior Clare Higgins’ experimental “Origins.” Some dabbled in classic genre constructions, like the meandering but well-intentioned sci-fi epidemic movie “CRISPR/Cas-4,” directed by Engineering Junior Michael Mitchell Jr. Some films landed better than others, as expected, but since the festival was the result of a diverse and creative group of filmmakers, there was truly something for everyone.
As a celebration of the creativity and drive of a talented group of people, the M-agination Film Festival was undeniably a success. The room was filled with an enthusiastic and receptive audience who gave every movie its deserved attention. They laughed, they cheered, they sighed — and a good time was had by all.