On April 13, the red carpet will roll out for Ball State’s annual Frog Baby Film Festival, but many students are waiting anxiously to hear the results from the submission period, which took place from March 1 to 12.
Any undergraduate student at Ball State can submit films through Frog Baby’s website, and then submissions are prejudged by a panel of graduate assistants in the telecommunications department to narrow the applications, according to Abby Peavey, Frog Baby film committee’s co-chairperson.
“It goes through two levels of judging, and then from the faculty judging we determine the awards,” Peavey said. “Then we determine what films get played in the festival.”
Alumnus Luke Butler directed the film “Uprooted,” which was one of the films selected to play in the Frog Baby Film Festival in 2016. The film tells the story of a man named Tom and his two roommates racing to get the best bedroom.
“[Seeing the film in the festival] was really exciting,” Butler said. “We had just finished the film, so it didn't have time to get stale. While not autobiographical, it was the most personal short I had made, and I wanted to share that at the festival.”
Alumnus Foster Eber, however, was unsure if he wanted to submit his animated short “Gale,” which would have to travel 4,000 miles to be submitted because she was in Italy at the time.
“I used my neighbors’ wifi to submit it,” Eber said. “It was all very weird, but we submitted.”
When Eber’s film was not only selected to play but also won Best of Festival, the experience was unlike anything he expected.
“We had never seen it on a screen that big. We did play it upstairs in the Animation room, but still it’s not nearly as big as the screen that's going to project it on Frog Baby,” Eber said. “I don’t even remember watching it at the time. We were all really tense like 'Oh, this is happening.’”
This year, 64 films were submitted in hopes of receiving recognition through awards and sharing their work with the community on the big screen at the festival, which Butler said is one of the best parts of the experience.
One of the best parts of the festival that participants have to look forward to, Butler said, is the reaction of the audience.
“Watching it with the audience was an incredible experience,” Butler said. “I had always read that you never know your film until you watch it with an audience and that proved to be very true. I had no idea if people would be on board with the various story beats that transition between tone. It was a great learning experience being in the room and observing reactions.”