John Carpenter coming to WKU film festival

Chris Rutledge

WKU students will have the opportunity to work with the director responsible for “Halloween” and “The Thing” when WKU alumnus John Carpenter comes to Bowling Green Thursday.

Carpenter will be in town as part of the Western Kentucky Film Festival. 
The festival will be held in the Mass Media Technology Center auditorium Wednesday-Friday.

Adjunct instructor Travis Newton, one of four faculty advisers for the festival, said Carpenter will give a question-and-answer session Thursday at 7 p.m. but, rather than a conventional screening Carpenter, will do something a little bit different. The director will be in Bowling Green Thursday morning to shoot a movie made out of a student’s script with an all-student crew.

“The idea got pitched to him to actually work with the students, and he definitely latched on to that,” Newton said.

Carpenter selected student Andrew Yontz’s script out of six finalists. The script is called “Do Not Push.”

Newton said Carpenter will put his own spin on Yontz’s script.

“He wants to do it a little darker and moodier,” Newton said.

This collaboration is just one of many features to this year’s film festival, which Newton said will be a student-focused festival. The decision to make the festival more student-focused comes in the wake of the retirement of festival founder Cory Lash.

“Ron DeMarse is pretty much in charge of the festival now,” Newton said. “His goal this season was to try to get students more involved but also to get student audience participation up. I think historically audiences have been sort of hit or miss, so we’re trying to give it back to the students and let them take ownership of the festival.”

One of these students is WKU Film Club Vice President Jarred Halcomb.

This will be the first time Halcomb, a senior from Central City, has been involved with the festival. He said the focus on students is what made him interested in getting involved.

“I was very inspired by their willingness to take student input and apply that into something that is more of a meaningful experience for the people who are wanting to submit work and have it exhibited,” Halcomb said. “I definitely still see a lot of areas for improvement that the campus and department could have to make the film major as meaningful as it could be.

“I feel especially motivated to help make that experience that much more rewarding for students who have aspirations and ambitions to be a filmmaker.”

Halcomb said Friday night will be entirely dedicated to showing student films and that everything from short and experimental films to long-form documentaries would be represented. 

Halcomb submitted a music video he made for Film Club President Stefan Meadows’ rock band, Rainbow Kitty Kitty, which will be screened along with 60 student films.

Meadows, a Bowling Green senior, said he’s optimistic about what the film festival could become.

“This year, they’ve got the right people to take control of it and get it back on track so we can have a serious film festival,” Meadows said.

There will be an awards ceremony for the student films after the festival.