Anderson University’s Black Bird Film Festival Returns

April 23—ANDERSON—Megan Smith has a love-hate relationship with B-movie horror.

“I actually hate watching horror movies, but I love making them,” she said.

But when the 23-year-old Anderson University film and media arts major sat down with her sister Rylee Smith to write the six-minute film “The Dreaming Psychic,” there was no doubt genre. Rylee Smith plans to attend UA in September and the sisters hope to start a film production company after graduation.

The Smiths’ story about a man whose ex-wife repeatedly murdered him will be one of many to hit the big screen Wednesday at AU’s annual Black Bird Film Festival.

Influenced by classics, such as the Indiana Jones series and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” Megan Smith said she started at Ivy Tech Community College with the intention of studying history. But when she took the only two video lessons offered there, she got hooked and transferred to UA.

“I took the course and said, ‘I want to do this for the rest of my life,'” the Yorktown junior said. “Honestly, I love stories. I was a big reader and I love entertaining people.”

Attending the film festival for the first time, Smith said she was thrilled with the experience and the growth in her art that will come with it.

“In doing this, many mistakes are made and many lessons are learned.”

It didn’t take long for Smith to persuade UA junior Hannah Gross to step behind the camera and sit for 40 hours by her side in the editing room.

Already a theater student, Gross, 22, was looking for electives to complete her major. She took a course in video concepts and, with only three semesters left, added a minor in film and media arts.

“The more I get involved in these things, the more I realize that I want to make a career out of it,” the Elgin, Illinois native said.

Film festival veteran Jonathan Williams, UA senior, 21, directed and served as cinematographer for the film ‘Bookends’, about a man reliving his memories in the afterlife. The film embodies everything the Film and Media Arts major and Journalism minor have learned about film noir, Hallmark movies, sitcoms, mockumentaries, and horror.

“Each memory is shot in a different genre of film,” the Lynn native said. “I wanted to gain more lighting experience by doing it in different genres.”

The writing team of UA seniors Brady Day, 23, of Richmond, and Gillian Lintz, 21, of Huntington, went in a different direction. Their short “Second Chances” is actually a pilot for a sitcom series. The single-camera program is a fish-out-of-water story about a convict who, instead of going to jail, is rehabilitated on a college campus.

The duo, who started a production company, also perform in their film.

“As musical theater students, we had to get acting credits for ourselves,” Lintz said.

Follow Rebecca R. Bibbs on Twitter at @RebeccaB_THB, or call 765-640-4883.