By Phil Brown, Reporter
Nebraska filmmakers and film lovers are carving out a place for themselves in Omaha. Established in 2005, the Omaha Film Festival has found success as a showcase and forum for both local talent and award-winning films from across the nation. Film Streams,which was founded two years later, boasts a mission of fostering of local talent and knack for attracting high-profile visitors, while show–casing a high-quality selection of films. With the city’s patron saint of film, the lauded Alexander Payne, directing high-profile projects to rave reviews, the film atmosphere of the city seems brighter than ever.
Unfortunately for students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, there’s no option to pursue film and filmmaking academically.
UNO is certainly not hostile to-wards film: it helped to sponsor this particular branch of the arts in several ways by publishing the Journal of Religion and Film and hosting the International Conference on Religion and Film last April and the two other film events hosted or sponsored last year, the Native American Film Festival and the Gender Reel Film Festival.
But though the school is certainly not hostile to the art of film, incoming and current students looking to study the topic—even as just a minor or concentration—are out of luck. Compared to UNL, which offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees on the topic, or even Creighton, who offers a Film Studies minor, Mavs aren’t given the option to include film as an official part of their UNO education.
That’s where MavFilmmakers comes in. Where the university itself stops, MavFilmmakers intends to help out. Founded by Mason Shumaker, a junior studying PR and Advertising, MavFilmmakers is a filmmaking club, which means every member is involved in the creative process of making films—writing, directing, acting or any other specialization. Shuumaker founded the club last semester because “the University had no filmmaking club and still doesn’t have a film program, so I wanted to fill that gap.”
Last semester, members of the group wrote and planned out the production of a few short films, collaborating with other club members in shared equipment, brain-storming sessions and acting talent. Students studying theatre were also instrumental in the productions. To give the final finished works an audience and to give the club greater exposure, Shumaker organized the club’s first Student Showcase, an event that will take place on Feb.2, an event he says “will be a great way to get introduced to our club members.”
So what’s next for Shumaker’s fledgling organization? Well, Mason is ambitious. His plans are “to partner MavFilmmakers with a local cinema and establish an identity as a unique creative outlet at UNO.” He is taking a more structured approach with the club this semester, with a schedule of operations and goals that will culminate in another showcase of work by the time summer rolls around. When the filmmakers of UNO get their freshman film efforts under their belts this February, the sky is the limit for what they can accomplish.
The Showcase will take place on Feb. 2, at 8 p.m. in Allwine Hall in room 316 and will be a unique opportunity to show support for fellow students and artists.