SELC celebrates student’s talent on film


Joel Molina

Student filmmakers pose for a photo after screening their films during the Student Film Festival held at the Union Cinema on April 22.

Elisha Nuñez, Staff Reporter

From deep themes like suicide to the modern wonders of internet fame, student films are some of the earliest developments of expression. That said, UTEP is a university that values such expression, as seen at the UTEP Student Film Festival. Organized by UTEP’s Student Engagement and Leadership Center (SELC), several student film submissions were received and shown at the Union Cinema, from 10 a.m. to noon, April 22. Where the audiences could see the creativity UTEP students are capable of.

As one of the many events that encourages student expression, the film festival welcomed any appropriate submission and had no limits regarding the topics of the movies. Nine submissions were sent to the SELC, and each one was shown at the film festival. 

“We really are open to any and all types of creation that our UTEP students have created, we just really wanted to highlight the different things that UTEP students are trying to do or trying to accomplish and (help) them reach their future goals,” said Amely Quiñonez, student and chair of the Mineros Entertainment Board at UTEP. “We have different types of submissions. We have some about a struggling relationship. We also have some that are about a little bit more darker stuff like drug abuse or maybe suicidal thoughts. I feel like all of our filmmakers did them in a really graceful way and some in a humorous way.” 

Some of the films shown during the film fest included “HAPPY HOUR,” a film about friends taking experimental drugs. Another film was “Commuter,” which followed the daily routine of Emilio, an international student who crosses the US-Mexico border every day. The ideas in the films mostly came from personal experiences or thoughts the student filmmakers had. 

“My (film) was just literally, ‘What if you were trying to commit suicide and the wrong person showed up,’” said Johnathan Gonzales, the filmmaker behind “Short Term Solution,” a film about a robber interrupting a man’s attempted suicide attempt. 

 After touching dark and funny topics, the films ended, each with applause. Toward the end of the film festival, audience members were allowed to vote for their favorite film. Judges from UTEP and elsewhere were also present to determine which of the films were the best. In third place was “Crisis Hotline,” a movie about a deranged man harassing a crisis hotline employee. In second place was “The Egg-Mocumentary,” a short film focusing on the idea of the afterlife. For first place, there were two categories: the fans’ favorite and the judges’ favorite. For the fans, “Commuter” proved to be the audience favorite, while “Short Term Solution” was judged as the top film of the festival.  

“I think really just giving them a space to kind of start their journey as filmmakers, you know, obviously they’re students and I think this is a perfect space to get constructive feedback,” said Stephanie Rivera, campus coordinator for SELC. “Giving them these types of events gives them access to things that maybe they haven’t been used to or just a different audience, a different view. I think all of this is just great practice, which is what we hope to be able to give them just great opportunities.” 

Elisha Nuñez is a staff reporter at can be reached at [email protected]