Our Lifestyle Editor Rachel Abreu reviews the Culture Y Film Festival, co-founded and produced by Alexis Gostelow, Alexandra Nicolae and Erin Powers.

A new addition to the On the Rocks Festival, the Culture Y Film Festival was an opportunity to watch student-made films, all united by the theme of culture. This year, the films created were an exploration of how culture influences identity, and they were presented to an esteemed panel of judges including India Basagni, Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson, Adina Istrate, and Dr Catherine Spencer.

The event was held at the Hotel Du Vin, offering an intimate setting perfect for film viewing and post-viewing discussion amongst the attendees. The event began swiftly and ran smoothly, bringing all the focus onto the films. There were a total of five films of around fifteen minutes each, and they were screened according to the following programme:

  • Oil + Ink –Sarah Park and Vienna Kim
  • Renatus (Rebirth) –Glen Kennedy and Charlie Manasseh
  • Third Culture Kid –David Mackenzie and Aneurin Howorth
  • Chicken Party –P. Ahana Alam, Indre Tuminauskaite, Laszlo Szegedi and Mando Gianni
  • Go Where the People Dance –Dylan Howel, Amy Gregan, Andrew Nall-Cain, Ashlyn Bourelle, Megan Alexandra, Milan Jo Anna

Although all the groups had the same brief, every film had its own distinct identity. It was clear that every team had a clear vision for what they wanted to present, and as an audience member, I felt a different vibe and impact from each film that was presented. Even though the films were being judged by a panel, the audience was still given the opportunity to vote for its favourite, something that I thought was a very engaging element of the event.

Following the screenings, the audience had the opportunity to meet the various filmmakers and discuss the issues presented, as well as the chance to cast their votes. It was obvious that choosing a favourite amongst the films proved very difficult for some, and some indecisive audience members even tried to change their votes! But alas, the winners of the night had to be chosen, and in a surprising turn of events, the results were announced as follows:

  • 1st Place: Oil + Ink
  • 2nd Place: Third Culture Kid
  • 3rd Place: Chicken Party
  • Audience Favourite: Chicken Party

As a treat for the audience, the event wrapped up with a special screening of Dheu (The Waves), a film that premiered at the Dubai Film Festival. The film was shown under special permission, and was therefore a unique opportunity for attendees, elevating the event even higher.

All in all, this film festival was a truly engaging event, and an exciting opportunity to witness the filmmaking talents of the St Andrews student body. I look forward to the opportunity to revisit this event in next year’s On the Rocks Festival, and urge others not to pass up the opportunity to attend.

Rachel Abreu