The Bradenton Arts Movieville Film Festival is not just about film and it’s not just about music – it’s also about forging the community partnerships that can raise Bradenton as a whole. Last night, fans and officials joined together in a night of music and fun at Tarpon Pointe Grill & Tiki Bar to honor one of BAMFF’s partners, State College of Florida, and three SCF graduates: Kyle Smith, Bryan Nastanski and Mark Giles.
“We’re so fortunate to have SCF involved with the festival,” said BAMFF executive producer Susan Short, before taking the mic and introducing Del Jacobs, Director of Film and Media Studies at SCF, to the gathered crowd.
Jacobs, a bespectacled and bearded man whose boundless enthusiasm for his students at SCF is apparent within the first minute of meeting, is no stranger to film festivals – his students have been participating in the Suncoast Student Film Festival for close to 15 years now, a festival Jacobs himself plays a lead role in organizing. But this year, he thinks they may be turning a corner.
“We’ve done this in a lot of places – we’ve had showings at Lakewood Ranch for example – and it’s been great” said Jacobs. “But I think a larger festival like this will help us grow and get more people curious about our films and our programs.”
As for his students – “Technically, they’re getting better and better. They’re shooting things that are visually competitive with the big name films.”
Ever looking forward, Jacobs also revealed plans 3 years in the making, to create a 4-year degree program at SCF for filmmakers, focusing on digital cinema, graphic design and digital photography.
The plan is solid and the proposition is well-researched and formulated, said Jacobs, but the project has been stalled by a one-year statewide moratorium on transitioning 2-year programs into 4-year programs. The moratorium is scheduled to be lifted early next year.
Despite such roadblocks, Jacobs remains dedicated to creating a film community in Bradenton – one that can rival Sarasota’s.
“The Sarasota Film Festival is great. No doubt,” admitted Jacobs. “We’re looking forward to doing an as good if not better job than the Sarasota Film Festival.”
SCF students have contributed around 15-16 films to BAMFF’s programming, representing a variety including experimental, narrative and documentary filmmaking. They will be shown at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, Friday and Saturday, 10am-12pm.