Zoom Productions hosts student-focused film festival

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) has a number of popular subgroups and services, but their video production house, Zoom Productions, remains a hidden gem in the student community.

“We’re a bit hard to find,” says U of O student and the team’s technical coordinator, Nathan Adolphe. He explains that Zoom’s upcoming semi-annual film festival, MediaFed, serves as both a way for students to showcase their work, and an opportunity for Zoom to promote their services.

“Film students at the university, for their final exams, were forced to screen their projects in their classrooms,” says fourth-year communications student and Zoom coordinator Adrie Sustar. “One of the video professors, Izabel Barsive, reached out to Zoom Productions, which started our partnership with the film program.”

While the festival began as a way for film students to screen their projects, it’s evolved into a bigger festival open to the work of all U of O pupils. Not only can any student submit work, but any member of the public can attend the screening, which will begin at 6 p.m. on Dec. 16 in the Alumni Auditorium, and is followed by an afterparty at 1848.

“We invite filmmakers from the Ottawa film scene to come to our events, so the afterparty serves as both a celebration and a networking opportunity for student filmmakers,” says Sustar.

The festival is a very inclusive event, as there’s no specific requirements for film applications other than that the movies stay under 10 minutes in length.

Both English and French projects will be shown in a variety of genres. The festival creates opportunities for both applicants and for Zoom, as students interested in the industry have the opportunity to be introduced to the U of O’s official group of student filmmakers.

“Hopefully they can find their way to Zoom, and we make a connection with them and create a bigger network of students,” says Sustar.

Zoom plans to expand the project in the future, with plans to hold a second MediaFed festival at the end of the winter semester.

“It’s really a great opportunity for the video class students to show their work to the public,” says Adolphe. “People dream of showing their movies on the big screen, and this is the best we can do on campus.”

The festival is open to first-time student filmmakers as well as experienced creators at the university—one of the works to be shown is Bloodwork, a short film that both Sustar and Adolphe worked on this past year.

“It ended up to be a much bigger production than we expected it to be,” says Sustar. The movie was the only student-created piece nominated for Digi60, a local film festival.

MediaFed is one of Zoom’s many initiatives to involve students in the campus film scene. For a small community in a large university, every contribution is welcome. For any student who is interested, Sustar says “it’s always an open door at Zoom.”

MediaFed will be on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Alumni Auditorium. Free tickets can be obtained from the Zoom Productions office at 0030 UCU.