by Jenny Cvek


The Five16 Film Festival is one

of the most popular events held at the

University of Northwestern—St. Paul.

Held on April 10 at 7 p.m., it is a night

for formalwear, socialization and entertainment,

and it also showcases the

hard work and talent of Northwestern’s

media department.

Starting at 6p.m., there was a red carpet, photos,

t-shirts for sale, popcorn and a live preshow17991276_1445847588800255_8223053554870526977_o

broadcast before this year’s 13

films are shown inside. Admission is

free and the event is open to the public,

but seating is first-come-first-served, so

it’s recommended to arrive early.


This is the eleventh year of Five16,

and every year is a bit different. Sophomore

film major Iain Thune said,

“There were so many submissions this

year that there was a hard time picking

and choosing which ones to add.”

New to 2017’s festival were the music

video category and the cinematography



As with any large festival, there

is a great deal that happens behind the

scenes in preparation for the actual

event. Senior film major Samara Ehlke

said, “This year, we’ve really kicked up

on the marketing.” There were trailers

that played before chapel, interviews

that were published on the Five16

Facebook page, and student-designed

movie posters. Both Thune and Ehlke

were on this year’s marketing team.


Filmmaking relies heavily on collaboration

and flexibility. Most of the

students involved in Five16 didn’t just

work on one part of one film, but took

part in multiple aspects of making the

films and running the festival. “I directed

and wrote and produced ‘Rhodes,’

which was submitted in the drama category.

I’m also on Northwestern Productions

executive staff,” said Ehlke. As

an executive staff member, she has been

working on the opening film that plays

before the festival officially begins. “I’m

also working on the red carpet live

broadcast that happens 30 minutes before

the show starts, so I’m line producing

that and finding people to interview

live at the event,” she added.


Film students will tell anyone that

their field is a labor of love. “The most17760794_1437411286310552_5538335326407597382_o

rewarding part is being able to tell a story

and have people get something out. I

put emotion into a project, and people

respond by understanding and expressing

that emotion,” Thune said. On the

other hand, he explained, “The hardest

part sometimes is the time commitment.

There’s a lot of work that goes

into making a film. For every minute

that you see on screen, there’s probably

an hour or more that was put into both

pre-production and post-production.

It does take its toll, especially when you

have other things to work on such as

homework for other classes or if you

have work, but the end result is definitely

worth it.”


For Northwestern film students,

the culmination and celebration of all

this work is found at Five16. Professor

Ann Sorenson is the program director

for the festival and oversees all the work

that students do leading up to the event.

“Hopefully [attendees] can expect to be

entertained and feel proud of the work

that our students are doing together. I

think that’s a really beautiful part of the

festival, seeing our student body and

students within this community really

teaming up and working together,” she

said. “I witness a journey with them,”

she said of the young filmmakers. “I

know, despite where someone thrives

in the process, one of the best things is

hopefully seeing the finished product

and being pleased with it or proud of

it or humbled by it,” In all parts of the

creative process, excitement to exhaustion,

she sees how they come together

to create something beautiful. “I witness

them figure out how to support

one another even when they’re low on

sleep and high on stress,” she said.


Not only is Five16 a night for the

public to come and be entertained, but

it’s a night for Northwestern’s media

department to show the rest of the university

the hard work they’ve been putting

into their projects over the year. “I

really want the attendees, especially the

students and faculty, to be proud of the

film students,” said Ehlke.

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