Date April 9, 2024
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24th annual Ivy Film Festival brings screenings, readings, speakers to College Hill

One of the world’s largest student-run film festivals, the annual event at Brown offers student filmmakers a glimpse into their futures — and offers the public a glimpse into their creative inspirations.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — How many students does it take to put together an acclaimed film festival? Ask the team at the Ivy Film Festival and the answer will be north of 150 — and that’s not including the 302 submissions from students from 26 countries.

Held annually on Brown University’s campus since 2001, the weeklong Ivy Film Festival has become one of the largest student-run film festivals in the world. This year, 11 teams led and staffed entirely by students from Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design created a festival that brings feature film screenings, live screenplay readings, speaker and discussion events, new media exhibitions and more to College Hill.

This year’s festival will run through Sunday, April 14, with the majority of programming held throughout the weekend. All events are free and open to the public — a key tenet of the mission of the festival, said Brown junior Maiya Ramsaroop, one of its four directors.

“Our number one priority is creating accessibility to the arts and the film industry,” Ramsaroop said. “We hope people in Providence — not just students, but everyone in the community — can come and get something out of it.”

The vast array of programming aims to ensure just that. The cornerstone of the festival — the official selections — encompass the stories that student filmmakers find most important to tell. This year, the 20 official selections are broken down into three categories, based on their driving themes: limbo, undergrowth and reverb.

From advanced screenings and conversations with seasoned industry professionals to virtual-reality experiences and live screenplay readings, the lineup reflects the diverse, creative thoughts and processes of students worldwide, Ramsaroop said.

“This is a vision of Hollywood’s future crafted by younger generations who will be entering the industry,” she said. “We’re creating something that we want to see, want to be a part of, and ultimately, that we can feel proud of.”

For some of the participating filmmakers and screenwriters, the Ivy Film Festival offers a first glimpse into what their future could look like. And supporting them by facilitating their travel to the festival or through initiatives like the Rising Star Grant — which awards $1,000 to a student filmmaker from a background historically underrepresented in the industry — is a step toward creating access to meaningful opportunities for budding artists who might not necessarily have them.

It’s one of the things Ramsaroop is most proud of when it comes to the festival, which she has been involved in since her first year at Brown.

“We are a group of people that walks the walk — in terms of what we want to do and how we want to change the industry for the better,” Ramsaroop said. “Seeing it all come together, the culmination of everyone’s efforts, is just magical.  It’s so hard to put it into words because it’s something you have to experience.”

The Ivy Film Festival runs through Sunday, April 14, at Brown. Though the events are free, tickets are required.