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Local film institute hold festival at Shepherd

By Staff | Aug 19, 2011

The Ryan Film Institute held its 5th annual student film festival Thursday night at Shepherd University’s Knutti Hall where young filmmakers were given an opportunity to share their work with the community.

The Ryan Film Institute originally started in Martinsburg but recently moved its classes to the Shepherd campus. This year marks the first time the festival will be held in Shepherdstown.

The institute’s founder, Katherine Walsh Ryan, feels the move has been extremely beneficial.

“Many places started charging more and more to rent space,” she said

Because of this, the festival sought a new home, and Shepherd proved more than willing to host it.

“Shepherd has been very welcoming to the institute,” Ryan said.

She is confident that Shepherdstown will continue to be the home of the institute for the foreseeable future.

This is not to say the move went off without a hitch.

The festival was originally planned for Saturday, Aug. 13 but complications arose, and the date was changed to Thursday, Aug. 18.

“I’ve never been in this position of not knowing an exact time and place before,” Ryan said

The festival contained a wide range of material from the aspiring filmmakers. Categories included student-made commercials, short films, as well as a series of film challenges.

The whole event kicked off with a pizza party, providing a chance to get to meet some of the up-and-comers in the local independent film scene before seeing their work.

While this year all of the film festival participants were relatively local, the institute has housed students from all over the country who have come to study with them.

When they are not putting on film festivals, the Ryan Film Institute continues to offer classes in many different areas of digital film making, from shooting digital photography to comprehensive film making and documentaries.

While she does charge for classes, which can run between $175 and $350 dollars, Ryan believes that the institute provides a community service through both the classes they offer and the annual festival. The film institute also relies on donations to continue offering their services.

When all the credits rolled on the last student film, it was time for the people’s choice award, a tradition which lets festival attendees vote on their favorite film for the night. Winners were also announced for the individual categories such as commercials and short films.

The festival ran one packed hour before everything started to wrap up. The Ryan Film Institute and Ryan plan on being back for another festival next year.

For more information about the institute, visit www.ryanfilminstitute.org.