Stories create reality. And there is no better place to experience a captivating narrative than the REELSTORIES FilmFest that will open this Friday and showcase a variety of student films and award-winning feature-length documentaries. It is a chance to appreciate and celebrate the art of filmmaking with the Pepperdine and Malibu community while witnessing how stories can move and inspire an audience.
REELSTORIES FilmFest began in 2009 when Pepperdine alumna Susie Lee (‘10) and other passionate students pursued a vision to showcase student-made films that captured storytelling’s impact. Senior Madi Unell, executive director of REELSTORIES, explained that the festival strives to “challenge the audience to think beyond the accepted norms in society.” It is an opportunity for students to put forth work alongside critically acclaimed films that confront the status quo and invigorate change.
“This year was the most competitive year for the student submissions thus far,” Unell stated. “We had some really great films submitted. We are so excited to see the amazing work of our student filmmakers, and I think people will be really impressed with their work.”
Along with the student films that will be shown, three feature-length documentaries will also be available for viewing around campus. “BonesBrigade,” a film selected by the Sundance Film Festival, documents the evolution of six individuals — including the famous skateboarder Tony Hawk — who as a team redefine skateboarding and themselves along the way. This film can be viewed in the Caf.
Alison Klayman’s “Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry,” also part of Sundance selections, chronicles the controversial Chinese artist and activist who tries to break free of cultural constraints. This film will be featured in Smothers Theatre and will include a special talk with Klayman.
Third is Sony Pictures’ “Searching for Sugarman,” a documentary that has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. It describes the history of Rodriguez, a massively famous South African musician who is, nevertheless, a mystery to Americans. “Sugarman” will be available in Elkins Auditorium.
The reception will begin at 6 p.m. in Joslyn Plaza, when students can pick up tickets and enjoy a Mexican buffet, photo booth, T-shirt giveaway for the first 500 people, the red carpet and an interactive art show. Films will be showcased at 7 p.m. and will include a Q&A with filmmakers.