April 25, 2024

Students fill Koubek Auditorium to view student productions (Catholic University/Katie Chmielewski)

Catholic University’s Media and Communications program rolled out the red carpet for student filmmakers from media production classes on campus. 

The students enjoyed festivities with friends, food, and photos before watching their films premiere on the big screen during the Cardinal Reels Film Festival in Koubek Auditorium in the Crough Center on April 18. 

Glenn Østen Andersen, an associate professor in the media department, said “One of the great parts about the current format of Cardinal Reels is that we feature films from all of our production classes. We also include reports from Cardinal Broadcasting Company, highlight reels from CUA Athletics and even a short segment from our new 1-unit course. It is awesome to see months of research, production, post-production and refining come together for one great night” 

Featuring student works in so many different production mediums not only allows students from many backgrounds to participate in the festival, it allows students to explore and be inspired by different types of production work.

Anderson also knows that this is a pivotal night for his film students. “Seeing your work projected on a big screen in a full theater is an important part of any filmmaker’s creative process and a project’s evolution,” he added.

This transformation was marked by a full and enthusiastic audience who seized every opportunity to cheer on their fellow students and filmmakers. Followed by a script table read and a documentary pitch about the game of pool, over ten student films were shown in various formats. The films ranged from documentaries, to walk-and-talks, to experimental narrative stories all written and produced by students.


Student filmmaker Ellie Bixenman poses on the red carpet (Catholic University/Katie Chmielewski)

An experimental narrative by Ellie Bixenman, a senior theology and religious studies major. titled “Late,” was inspired by, “the unhappiness I’ve seen in the ‘culture of rush’ present within our society. Bixenman said she, “wanted to capture the raw emotion of what it means to live in that culture and the things we might miss in the present moment by rushing or running everywhere.” 

Bixenman also shared that the Media and Communications staff has been crucial in supporting her throughout her filmmaking journey. She says, “If you have an itch to create, then create. The people in the media department will support you and your vision all the way and give you the tools you need to make your vision come to life.”

Bringing an idea to life is a key theme of the Cardinal Reels Film Festival. Once students have an idea, the production staff ensures students are guided to help their ideas come to fruition. 

The Cardinal Reels Film Festival is a unique way for University students to showcase their creativity and intelligence in the filmmaking world. As Anderson says, “This is the night they transform from film students to filmmakers.”