This year’s Student Experimental Film Festival (SEFF) will be held Dec. 2 and 3. The theme of the student film submissions will be dream states.
SEFF has been hosted annually by Binghamton University students enrolled in CINE 300: Curating Film and Video. Since 2010, SEFF has highlighted student films from around the United States with a particular focus on innovative film.
Andrew Frangella, lead coordinator and fundraiser for SEFF and a senior majoring in cinema, described experimental film as the unique premise of this festival.
“Experimental film tends to be less about stories or narratives, and it can take many forms, but for the most part it’s about exploring ideas, the self, the mind,” Frangella wrote in an email. “Sometimes it can take the form of literal experimentation with things like video art or materialist films. But it has so many forms, really.”
The festival has been hosted in various places from the Union Underground to the Bundy Museum of History and Art in Downtown Binghamton. This time, the curated collections of films will be shown throughout the two days at HCS — an art center in Vestal. The first day will be accompanied by a reception with food and drinks.
Emma Brace, fundraiser of SEFF, a member of the festival’s social media team and a junior double-majoring in cinema and business administration, greatly looks forward to the showings.
“It’s such an exciting event not only for those of us who put it together, but for all of the students of [BU] who appreciate film,” Brace wrote in an email. “The venue is also super cool, and we’re really stoked to have it there.”
This event, like others of its kind, allows for young filmmakers to reach a wider audience. Frangella discussed the significance of SEFF being solely a college film festival.
“I think it’s wonderful for student filmmakers to have a chance to showcase their work to other students and those in the community,” Frangella wrote.
BU’s SEFF entry web page specifies this year’s theme as work “related to, invoking, or inspired by dream states, dreams, other worldliness and the subconscious mind.” Creators were free to interpret and build upon this prompt, and films of any reasonable length were welcomed for submission.
Brace elaborated upon the theme of this year’s festival.
“Our theme for this year’s festival is … anything pertaining to dreams, otherworldly states and so on,” Brace wrote. “I don’t want to give away any specifics for the festival, but the films submitted this year are looking fantastic, and they mesh super well together.”
Frangella is also very excited about this year’s spin on the curation process. Frangella is responsible for outreach and communication with participating filmmakers, as well as contacting professors and making them aware of SEFF’s existence. Students in CINE 300 are assisted by their professor Anna Kipervaser, lecturer of cinema.
Frangella described the process of rating the film submissions.
“Films are rated based on their relevance, quality and personal enjoyment,” Frangella wrote. “We are students, not professional curators, but we have had great readings and presentations from both our professor and another faculty member, Eli Horwatt, [lecturer of cinema], who has had extensive experience curating.”
Frangella explained how Horwatt reminds SEFF organizers that curate means, etymologically, to ‘care for.’ This shows for students like Brace and Frangella, who put this care into their work.
The Student Experimental Film Festival is free to attend. More information can be found on the BU website and SEFF’s Instagram page, @seffbing.
Editor’s Note (11/16): This article has been edited to fix the venue’s location.