By Anya Otterson
The vibes at the 38th annual Foolish Pleasures Student Film Festival were upbeat and carefree, as students came to see each others’ films and have a good time. Held on April Fool’s Day, the festival really took full advantage of the foolish theme.
Foolish Pleasures is the second longest-running tradition at the University of Puget Sound, and while decades ago it was a big event boasting comedians, limousines and the like, it has recently lost that status. It had been relegated to the background of campus events, with few submissions and attendees.
“In the past few years, it’s not been really as celebrated. I wanted to bring back Foolish Pleasures,” said ASUPS Campus Films coordinator, junior Ian Chandler, who was in charge of this year’s Foolish Pleasures.
He succeeded. Upper Marshall Hall was full of students supporting each other and excited to see what they created. There were also nine submissions, making it a much more robust showing of films than in the past.
The movies were judged by a panel of five judges, including three alums, one of whom — Josh Sherwin ‘80 — was a founder of Foolish Pleasures. The winner received a theater rental for a night at Grand Cinema, with the opportunity to watch movies or play video games there. This is the first year that the Grand Cinema is sponsoring Foolish Pleasures.
“I’m planning this whole event on my own and have this sense of what it’s supposed to be like and having no idea how to get there,” said Chandler.
At the end of the multicolored pathway — made to emulate the Red Carpet — leading into Upper Marshall Hall was a room transformed to fit the theme of this year’s Foolish Pleasures: formal with a foolish twist. With students wearing suit jackets paired with running shorts and dresses with fun socks, the show was immediately branded as something to not be taken too seriously. It was there purely for the entertainment of the Puget Sound campus and recognition of students who love making movies.
“It’s vulgar and ridiculous, and Puget Sound needs that. We’re bringing a sense of foolishness and ridiculousness. It’s about pushing buttons,” Chandler said.
Many of the films had comical streaks, ranging from meeting an attractive stranger with a pumpkin for a head to a fight breaking out in philosophy class. Others took deeper looks at life, with characters contending with inner struggles and observing that beauty that Tacoma offers.
Junior Chase Hutchinson’s film, Manic Mumblecore, was one that explored some of the former themes. A film lover and aspiring director, Hutchinson spent a fair amount of time crafting his submission to this year’s Foolish Pleasures.
“It’s about the character grappling with himself and the cyclical nature of how we’re all doomed,” said Hutchinson, recognizing the darker humor and nature of Manic Mumblecore.
Hutchinson named his film after a Donald Glover reference in which he was criticized for playing “mumblecore” characters — those with feebly written stories.
Filmed around Tacoma, the movie features music by Wraith Falls and features Francisco Veloz — who does not go to Puget Sound — as the main character. Hutchinson wanted it that way, so that viewers would not associate Veloz with seeing him around campus, which would detract from the movie itself.
“I think there’s going to be a common experience of this is depressing and weird, and if you think it’s depressing and normal, come see me because we should be friends,” said Hutchinson of his darker-themed movie.
The University of Puget Sound Film and Production Club also submitted four films to the festival. These shared a common humorous streak.
Senior Solana Michael, founder and president of the Film Club, was wonderfully excited about the work that the club has accomplished this year and sent to the festival.
“As we’ve progressed, the quality of the films have gotten better, and I’m so proud of that,” said Michael. “We’re still learning, but we are getting better.”
The Film Club’s filmmaking process is based entirely on teamwork. After having members submit scripts and choosing the ones they want to make as a group, members are given roles such as cinematographer and director. Continuing meetings and communication between members is what makes the process go smoothly.
Casting for roles is open to the Puget Sound student body and a great way to try something new, as prior knowledge of filmmaking is not necessary, and everyone gets cast.
It’s so fun because it’s like a big party with a bunch of really cool people,” Michael said.
This attitude is present in the Film Club’s movies, as viewers can tell that the actors and people producing the films enjoy it immensely.
“I hope they have a good time, and I hope they come again,” said Michael of what she hoped attendees would get from Foolish Pleasures.
This year’s winners were The Dynamic Revenger (Best Entertainment), Philosophy 101 (Best Execution), Manic Mumblecore (Best Concept) and The Return (Overall Winner).