Mothers of UVM, let your kids go to the movies!

The first of what will be an annual festival, the UVM Student Film Festival took place on Thursday, April 17. Hosted by UVM senior Maxwell TubÂman, and featuring live music by Tequila Mockingbird, the festival was a success, with potential to grow in the years that follow.

“I think that the film department is getting stronger,” Tubman said, “but I want to see the production department get stronger so that in the future UVM can compete with Champlain College, Burlington College and other New England colleges and universities.”

The festival featured 16 short films ranging from 40 seconds to two minutes in length.

First place went to Lewis Rapkin’s “Harmonia.” Influenced by Michel Gondry’s famous music video for Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water,” “Harmonia” was a meticulous work featuring a split screen with two simultaneous 5:30 shots and well deserving of its first place status.

Rapkin’s original song for the film was a dead-ringer for a Harmonia track, flawlessly recreating the analogue synth sounds of the influential Krautrock band.

“I thought it was funny that first prize was gift certificate to the Bern Gallery,” Rapkin said. “Thanks UVM for giving me a gift certificate to a head shop.”

Second place went to David Andreini’s “Morning Toast,” a very funny comedic horror film about a man’s anxiety upon entering the working world.

“Anime Day” by Gef Gove and Dave Kauffmang took third place, or Crowd Pick. A sucker for stop-motion photography, I thought it was a contender for best film. It was one of the most imaginative selections and the beard scene was laugh-out-loud-funny.

Unfortunately, the film suffered from a hackneyed white-boys-can’t-dance-black-boys-can joke in the center. Don’t get it twisted, everyone loves a good racial stereotype, but I found this one offensive as a white-boy who can dance.

Louis Armistead’s noir pic “The Bird and the Stone” showed a lot of promise. Well-shot and well-written, the only drawbacks were its (forgivable) clumsy acting and a few missed joke opportunities (for example, when Rita comments that there are no vowels on Truck’s door, why doesn’t he respond “the vowels cost extra”?).

Other notable selections included “Home Grown,” a documentary about the exhibits of buying local produce and supporting businesses who do so, and “Ruski Prison Tattoo.”

Also a documentary by senior Andrew Huber, “Ruski” takes the audience step by step through the creation of an “authentic Russian prison tattoo.” The film was originally conceived of as an anthropology project. I’ll give you two guesses where its subject gets the tattoo. (A hint, the filmmakers didn’t shy from showing nudity.)

If you missed the screening, you can visit the festival’s Facebook page to view the top three films or visit uvmfilmest.blogspot.com for more information on future events and submissions.