This past week, IE hosted a short film festival, celebrating films under the theme of “Embrace Your Story.” The two-day event had an incredible turnout, with the grand finale being Thursday’s award ceremony. After the past two editions themed Define Your Story and Unlock Your Story, Embrace Your Story was the perfect addition to the trilogy that focused on storytelling.
Submissions closed on February 2, after over 3,000 films were submitted from over 120+ countries. The sheer number of submissions was astounding, but the real spotlight was on the true artistry of each film. After much anticipation, May 10 was the finalists short film screening. The auditorium hosted two “runs” so that it was available for more of the student body to view.
The following day, film buffs from campus and beyond came to the award ceremony to discover the ieSFF nominees. Nominations were created by an impressive jury panel, from producers and creatives in the field. Thursday boasted a red carpet with photographers, catering by Makan and Honest Greens, and finally the ceremony itself. Held in the auditorium, the room was abuzz as presenters announced the panel’s winners.
After the prizes were announced, then came the most fun part of the day – the networking! The event organizers did a great job at creating a fun atmosphere that was all about film and the artists behind them. Speaking with fellow students, the highlights seemed to be the Kahoot about all the films and just being surrounded by fellow cinephiles. One student, Jood Abu Hantash, talked about her favorite film, Nur y Abir. It was about her homeland of Palestine and brought her to tears on Thursday. “The short portrayed an important sense of diversity, and it was super sentimental for me to be reminded so clearly of home. The producer did such a great job of putting it all together to create a touching moment for viewers.” she said.
Also, the event was attended by John Priesler, Tomas Lemus, and Tazio Gazzini of Doorhinge Productions, a start-up project founded by Segovia-based students enthusiastic about movie production. They are also a part of the Board of Film Club in Segovia. Speaking with them, they talked about how great it was to get a sense that the IE community supports the arts, especially film-making. The field can often be overlooked in the wide discipline, so “to see such a vibrant ceremony shows us how much artists and fans alike support one another,” said John.
The two-day celebration of the film was a special experience for all involved. One of the most interesting conversations I had was that of Alessandro Rota, the event manager for ieSFF. Below is the interview with him about the process of creating such a successful event.
What surprised you the most about the event?
The one thing that surprised me the most was the array of students, nationalities, and degrees represented in the entire team. A film festival sounds like something that might interest more those who study design or communications as it relates more to their areas of study, but we also had students from BIL, BBA, and masters in management and marketing, alongside having a team composed of multiple nationalities from all continents. It was incredibly surprising to have an open-minded and multicultural society which proved to be useful to manage and organize an international festival that recognizes filmmakers and creators from every corner of the world.
IEConnects registered almost 350 participants… were you happy with the overall level of participation for the festival itself?
It was incredible to see that so many individuals were interested in the festival. Yet, not as many ended up coming, which is completely normal for IE events, which usually have a 50% turnout rate, a target we happily reached in the overall two days of the festival. Before this third edition of the ieSFF in the tower, the previous edition took pla ce online in 2020/2021, meaning that it has been a while since the IE student body was aware of this festival even existing. With a new campus and new students, we had to completely re-advertise the event from zero and this year we took the opportunity to grow awareness and build an initial audience to retain for the following years while also growing our audience base for the next edition. This is why overall I personally was quite happy with the turnout we received since we were able to meet the IE threshold of a 50% attendance rate while establishing a name for our brand and the vision we want to achieve.
Ale was personally interested in the event management aspect of the field, as he has worked previously with the productions of the IE theater club and high-end fashion events. As a content producer himself, he is hoping to work in the film industry. Combining the two made sense, and his skill set certainly made the event a success.
After months of preparation, organizers, including Ale, can finally take a sigh of relief after seeing all their efforts pay off. But not for long! They are already planning to start preparing for next year’s festival soon. Let’s hope to see even more cinephiles in the 2024 edition of ieSFF!
Featured photo by Alanis Benitez.