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University of Missouri

What If MU Had a Film Festival?

MU Film Production Club presents What If Film Fest.

The MU Film Production Club has had a couple of rough years. The club organized in fall 2011 only to narrowly escape disbanding in spring 2012 after its first film festival. A few dedicated students remained active, and in fall 2012, the group regained its footing. With seven board members and about 20 participants, the MUFPC is hosting its second annual film festival under a new name: The Tycho Film Festival, named for Tyhke, the Greek goddess of fortune. The organizers of the fest are hoping a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck is all they need to make this year’s festival a success.

It’s a scary thing when you feel like you don’t know much about [putting on a film festival], but to do something is the best way to learn,” says board member Charley Field, a junior strategic communication major from St. Louis.

Pooling resources, MUFPC is collaborating with Stephens College, Columbia College and Westminster College, a partnership born from the friendship of Matt Murrie and Brian Maurer. Murrie and Maurer met during summer 2012 at a gathering of local filmmakers. Murrie, an English professor at Westminster in Fulton, Mo., was working on the second annual What If … ? Conference, two days of eight-minute presentations that ask “What if … ?” questions, followed by problem-solving sessions that explore the possibilities.

What If Film Festival

Ethan Porter presents “What if I’m wrong?” at the What If … ? Conference. The MU Film Production Club has issued a call for submissions to the What If … ? Film Festival and encourages filmmakers to explore the theme of What if … ? Photo by Abdullah Al-Hadeethi.

What if time didn’t exist?

What if the European Renaissance was based on Asian Culture?

We’re heavily inspired by TED Talks,” says Murrie of the popular series of 15-minute mini-lecutures. “But we like to see ourselves as pre-TED. We’re giving people an avenue to ask questions that haven’t been answered or cannot be answered, but people could hear those questions, and that leads them to a good idea or, hopefully someday, the next great TED Talk.”

Murrie pitched the idea of a What If … ? film festival to Maurer, an independent filmmaker and MU film studies instructor, as a way to extend the speculating.

How many different iterations [of What If … ?] can we use to engage as many people?” asks Murrie, who organized the conference with Westminster senior Andrew McHugh. “We’re trying to create a movement about exploring our world one question at a time, treating curiosity and creativity as a natural resource.”

As adviser to the MUFPC, Maurer knew the students could take the idea and run with it.

What If Film Festival

An audience member brainstorms during the group problem solving event at the second annual What If … ? Conference in Fulton, Mo., March 1, 2013. The MU Film Production Club is hosting the What If … ? Film Festival April 14 at the MU Student Center. Photo by Enni Kallio.

The goal is for the students to be not only the principle submitters to the festival but also to be the people who are running it,” Maurer says.

The MUFPC has issued a call for submissions and encourages student filmmakers to explore the theme of What If … ? The films could be based on a question presented at the conference March 1–2, or they could tackle new questions. Submissions are due on April 8.

MU’s Comedy Wars improv team will host the event, which will occur from noon to 2:30 p.m. April 14 at the MU Student Center in Chamber Auditorium, Room 2501.