Eighth Annual Fault Line Film Festival Showcases Regional Student Talent

Southeast Missouri State University students, regional high school students and students from across Missouri and surrounding states will display their cinematic talents and skills in this year’s Fault Line Film Festival at Southeast Missouri State University.

The festival begins with a keynote address at noon on Nov. 8 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus. A Gala event and film screening will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Forrest H. Rose Theatre, with an awards ceremony immediately following. All events are free.


“The festival is an excellent opportunity to expose the local audience to what these students are capable of,” said Fred Jones, professor of mass media. “The talent they express through storytelling and technical work is on another level that most people don’t expect.”

New to the festival is the inclusion of high school filmmakers, expansion of participation in the region, an increase in the maximum film length to 15 minutes and the addition of a screening of all films submitted by local students.

“For years we have had high school students attend the screenings. They seemed excited and inspired by the festival. We saw enough interest that we included them as competition participants this year,” said Rhonda Weller-Stilson, associate dean and director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts. “This is not only a great experience for high school students, but also a wonderful recruitment tool for Southeast.”

The festival is open to any university or high school student, with an emphasis on schools in the Midwest. Jones said he hopes the festival will grow from a regional to a national competition.

“We encourage anyone, including non-film majors to enter,” he said. “We’ve had non-majors enter in the past and do very well.”

This year, the festival received a record-breaking number of entries, with 58. The previous record was 36 entries. Films were entered from students as far away as Utah and Massachusetts.

Shelby Leverington, a Southeast alumnus who has performed in film, television and commercials for over 36 years, will present the keynote address in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at noon Nov. 8. She will offer one master class in Rose Theater on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m. and a second class in the Kenneth and Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center Room 114 on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Both master classes are open to all students.

Leverington graduated from Southeast in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Education, speech option, with minors in history and social science. She then moved to New York City to study acting. She attended Milton Katselas’ scene study class and credits his insight and teaching skills as the major factor in her decision to become a professional actress. After meeting several New York University film students, she started acting in their films. This culminated in her collaboration with Alec Hirschfeld and Mitch Block in creating the Emmy Award-winning film, “No Lies.” Favorable reviews of her performance in the short film helped her acquire an agent. Since then, she has made Los Angeles her home.

Each film is entered into one of six categories: animation, comedy, drama, high school, mystery/suspense and other, which is for films that do not fall into one of the other categories. An award for best film is given within each category, as well as an award for Best of Festival. In addition, an award is given to a film that showcases outstanding technical achievement, and another is given to a film that the audience deems worthy.

The awards are $250 per category and the Best of Festival winner will receive a $1,000 prize.

The jury is made up of several visual media professionals and award-winning story-tellers including Jason Stamp, a returning judge and accomplished film professional.

Also new this year, a screening of films entered by local students will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 in Rose Theatre.

The Fault Line Film Festival is made possible by the generosity of several entities including this year’s sponsors – Cape Girardeau Regional Airport; Legends Cape Girardeau; the Office of the Provost; the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; the College of Liberal Arts; the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts; The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance; the Department of Mass Media; and the Department of Polytechnic Studies.

“The festival is one of my favorite academic activities because it is a collaboration between the

Holland School, the Department of Mass Media, The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance and the

Department of Polytechnic Studies,” Weller-Stilson said. “We enjoy working with other disciplines, but don’t always have that opportunity. This allows faculty, staff and students to work with people from all over campus. We could not run the festival without everyone’s support.”

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