Grizzdance Film Festival makes a comeback in 2020

For a day filled with films and fun, look no further — Oakland University is hosting its very own film festival.

The Grizzdance Film Festival is taking place on Oakland University’s campus Saturday, Feb. 8 and will showcase films made by aspiring filmmakers and students from the university and local high schools.

The festival has been revived after a six-year hiatus. Grizzdance used to be a student organization whose goal was to showcase films created by OU students. 

After being brought back, the festival ceased to be a student organization and shifted its focus to emerging filmmakers in southeast Michigan and the greater Great Lakes region. 

“Previously we’ve had the cinema showcase at the end of the year, but this is a more spread out festival since they’re inviting local high schools,” said Michaela Dorflinger, a junior at OU and member of the Grizzdance team.

OU senior Taylor Frick, who serves as president of Student Video Productions and is a member of the Grizzdance team, said the cinema showcase tends to be more professor-driven, while this festival is student-driven. 

The festival was built in a similar format to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), according to Justin Reifert, one of the Grizzdance faculty advisers. The idea to bring back Grizzdance grew from OU’s TIFF Program, which allows students to travel abroad and experience the Toronto festival as a student. 

Brendan Kredell, one of the faculty advisers and lead organizers of the festival, said there was a lot of enthusiastic momentum from the students after they would get back from TIFF, but it died off since there was nowhere for them to put it. 

According to Kredell, with “necessity being the mother of invention,” the festival was brought back. 

“We realized we had the skill set on campus and it just sort of seemed like the right thing to do,” he said. “Luckily, there was a lot of student interest as well.”

Madyson DeJausserand, a senior at OU and member of the team, said the festival is a “celebration of aspiring filmmakers.”

“We want to bring it back as a way to showcase not only Oakland University students and their work, but the work of local filmmakers and especially high school filmmakers,” she said.

Frick said she hopes students get the same experience out of this festival that she has gotten out of TIFF. 

“The experience in itself is something that people can be unfamiliar to, but once they’re exposed to it, it’s kind of intoxicating,” she said. 

According to Dorflinger, this is an opportunity for OU students to see how talented their peers are. 

“Everybody loves to watch movies,” she said. “Coming and supporting your fellow OU Grizzlies is an awesome and fun thing to do for everybody.” 

The festival will feature four different programs highlighting around 33 films. Each program will feature various types of genres including comedy, horror and drama. During breaks between the films, there will also be Q and A sessions and workshops to participate in to learn the tips and tricks of the industry. Concessions and merchandise will be available during the event, which will conclude with an awards ceremony.

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