Fourth annual Steamboat Springs Student Film Festival kicks off Friday |

Fourth annual Steamboat Springs Student Film Festival kicks off Friday

At the third annual Steamboat Springs Student Film Festival, Christopher Sias talks to a group of high school students during one of the "Feedback from a Pro" workshops that the festival hosts.

— It's all about story this year at the fourth annual Steamboat Springs Student Film Festival.

Out of 125 entries from high school students across the nation, 45 made the cut.

"All students (in the festival) are natural-born storytellers, and the ones featured were lucky enough to combine this with their technical skills in order to make short films in their medium of expression," said Michael Staley, who serves on the panel of judges and will also lead one of the workshops.

The two-day event gets underway Friday at Bud Werner Memorial Library, with screenings from 8 to 10 p.m. and a filmmaker's VIP lounge open from 6 to 8 p.m.

The event will continue Saturday at Colorado Mountain College’s Allbright Auditorium with workshops throughout the day and screenings from 7 to 9 p.m. An awards program is slated for 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. and will include cash prizes for first-, second- and third-place films.

Attendees can vote for their favorite films by choosing their audience favorites and will also be able to participate in the workshops.

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"Every ski town seems to have a film festival, and we wanted to do something unique," said Steve Moos, who came up with the idea for the festival. "It's to emulate what a festival in Telluride or Aspen would be like as a learning experience for students."

Winners will be chosen in seven categories, in addition to the top three overall winners. Categories include action sports, animation, artistic/experimental, comedy, drama, documentary and music video.

Staley said there were some poignant drama entries, great animations and music videos, as well as documentaries on subjects as diverse as construction cranes and nitrogen ice cream.

Four students from Steamboat Springs have submissions in the festival. They include Kelly Ryan, from Steamboat Springs High School, with "14-15 Season"; Ansel Luchau, from Steamboat Mountain School, with "Bike Trip"; Jack Vanderbeek, from SSHA, with "The Road to Red"; and Logan Sankey, from SSHA, with "Fly.”

"It's impressive that students even explore some of these topics …" Moos said. "Every year, I'm surprised."

Randy Homan, SSHS video production instructor, said his students had been focusing on music videos this year, but he added he's seen a festival trend toward drama and documentary.

Moos said holding the second day of the festival at CMC allows students access to the computer lab, where they can utilize skills and techniques, such as color correction and sound mixing, they are learning from the guest speakers.

The most popular program, he said, will be the "Feedback from a Pro" workshop, in which students receive feedback from professionals, even if their submissions were not selected.

"You get an adrenaline rush when you see your film on a big screen in front of an audience — you get chills," Moos said. "It's exciting for students to be able have that kind of experience."

"The floor is rising, and I think all of our films are getting better, overall, compared to a few years ago," Moos said. "This year, overall, we have the strong program, by far, from the bottom to the top. It will be interesting to see what the audience and judges will pick."

The event is free but a $5 donation is suggested to go toward funding the festival, a nonprofit organization that also distributes scholarships from the Denver Film Society’s Youth Filmmaker Workshop and the Colorado Film School out of Aurora.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

Schedule of Steamboat Springs Student Film Festival

Friday — Bud Werner Memorial Library

6 to 8 p.m.  Filmmaker’s VIP lounge open

8 to 10 p.m.  Film Screenings I

Saturday — Colorado Mountain College, Allbright Auditorium

2 to 5:30 p.m.  Filmmaker’s VIP lounge open

2 to 4 p.m.  Film workshops for students and adults

4 to 5:30 p.m.  Individual feedback from a pro

7 to 9 p.m.  Film screenings II

9:30 to 10:30 p.m.  Awards program