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The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Premiere Film Festival: Coming soon to a theater near you

Mary Grace Blake
File – The Music Box Theatre during the Chicago International Film Festival on Oct. 18.

Each year, DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts hosts the Premiere Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre at 3733 N. Southport Ave. Featuring cinematic works students produced, this year’s festival –  the 18th annual – is on Friday, May 31. There are 20 categories in which students can win awards for their films with the event open and free to all students at DePaul. 

A jury made up of filmmakers, industry insiders and festival programmers will judge the submitted films and hand out awards. In addition, the audience gets to vote for the Audience Choice Award. 

The program is split into two parts – the first showcasing nine student films and the second with another eight student films. Here’s a sneak peak at the upcoming festival, highlighting a sample of student-made films that will premiere:


Carlos Roques: “Blue Spring” 

“Blue Spring” is about a 20-something expat living in Madrid. She must confront her psychotic ex, who is endangering both her and her rebound’s lives. “Blue Spring” is a cartoon that took about a year to make. 

“I want audiences to leave their toxic male partners,” senior Carlos Roques said. “Domestic violence affects almost half of all women in the US, and men consistently refuse accountability. Hatred of women is a defining trait of the emboldened Far-Right in this country.” 

In this short, Roques compares the antagonist, Anatoly, and “the attitudes that fueled Spain’s backspin into fascism.” 

“I’d like young men to walk out of my cartoon thinking, ‘Damn, I have embedded narcissistic and misogynistic traits that I project outwards,’” Roques said. 

Roques has a personal connection to the story.

“‘Blue Spring’ confronts a lot of sensitive issues which matter to me, and I’m frustrated with how others consistently ignore them,” Roques said. 

This is the second time Roques has had his work featured in the Premiere Film Festival. He was first featured last year with his film ‘Snow Angels.” 


Evan Carter: “Witchcraft”

“Witchcraft” is a psychedelic-thrash-metal journey of dog sorcerers who have a goal to rid the universe of cats via an army of mechanical abominations. “Witchcraft” is a love letter and fan music video to the band King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard.

“The biggest thing I want people to take away is the fact that it was almost entirely made in virtual reality,” senior Evan Carter said. “I have been making content in this medium for six years, and most people think VR films are 360 degrees and need a headset to view.”

However, VR filmmaking is “virtually” the same as holding a camera in digital space and recording a 2D image in the same way as the real world. Including actors from all around the world with their setups and passion for collaborating on such projects.

Carter was the sole mind on this project and did the majority of the motion capture acting, animation, videography and editing himself.  


Kim Sphon: “Day with a Dick”

“Day with a Dick” is a comedy about 30-year-old Olive Jackson, who wears a strap-on for a day to overcome her self-doubt and discover herself. Its creator says the film takes inspiration from the films “Ladybird” and “Bridesmaids.” 

“The pressure on women to be perfect in a society built by and for men can be paralyzing,” said Kim Sphon, who graduated from DePaul in 2023. “Olive’s journey to finding herself is messy, fun, imperfect, funny, ugly, and full of mistakes. I hope the film allows the audience, especially women, to realize the path back to themselves is more accessible than they realize.” 

Sphon said her goal for filmmaking is to continue making comedic art that centers on women. 


Autumn English: “Perfect Casting”

“Perfect Casting” is an animated dramedy that follows a costume designer named Mare and an asocial creature actor named Castellan. The film focuses on their dynamic and how their work affects their relationship as coworkers. 

“I just hope that, first of all, audiences will laugh and have a good time!” senior Autumn English said. “But going a little further, I hope that that laughter and appreciation for the absurd things that happen in my film can inspire audiences to feel a little more comfortable with themselves.”

English commented on the film’s focus about embracing individuality and finding community among people who are less than perfect. 

“Making this film inspired me to loosen up and be less self-conscious, so I hope others can feel the same,” English said. 

English hopes to explore the concepts of workplace culture and the artistic process in future projects. 


Owen Elliot: “Escalate”

“Escalate,” a film by freshman Owen Elliott, is about a man stuck on an elevator that keeps going up but never reaches the second floor of the building. 

“My goal with this specific film was to, one, strip everything away, all the fancy gear, all the fancy cameras, all the extra help, and just make something that felt true to life at the moment,” Elliott said. “Two, capture the confusing landscape of navigating the job world, specifically in the film industry.” 

This is Elliot’s first year in the festival and he is looking forward to watching his and others’ films on the Music Box screen. 

“It’s a pretty surface-level parallel to how I feel, making content over and over again with nothing to show for it in terms of professional growth,” Elliot said. 

Correction: This story has been updated to note that Evan Carter is a senior.

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