Students show off work at film festival

Joanna Williams

Cory Lash, a transitional journalism retiree, started the Western Film Festival 17 years ago because he thought it would be beneficial for the students at WKU.

“I’ve always attended film festivals in other states and other colleges,” he said. “I thought it would be a terrific idea for students at Western to showcase their films. It developed over the years and we started adding seminars.”

The film festival began yesterday and will continue through Thursday, with student and independent films screened each night at 7 p.m. in Mass Media and Technology Hall auditorium.

Notable seminars this year include Zach Adams, who directed a documentary on the Nashville floods, and Cheryl Beckley, a producer of an Emmy-winning Mammoth Cave documentary.

“You never know from year to year in regards to the kind of stories you’re going to get,” Lash said. “It depends on what I can bring in and what people can submit.”

A full schedule of films and seminars can be found at

Lash said they have not had many film majors enter the festival, but he thinks as the major becomes more prominent on campus, there will be more students from the major submit.

“The film festival will definitely benefit the film major,” he said. “As we get further down the road I’m sure it will get going.”

Henderson senior Andrew Swanson, who created a recruitment video for the fire department, will have his video screened at the festival.

“This film is my first recruitment video,” he said. “It’s my first film going from a student to a professional.”

Danville junior Matthew Wagner’s comedic short film will premiere at the festival. He said it’s about three men who attempt to rob a bank but are outsmarted by the teller, who persuades them not to go through with the robbery.

Wagner said he’s ready to network with the professionals who will be at the festival.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It brings in a lot of professionals, and it gives us as students an opportunity to interact and get some advice.”

Wagner said that having a film festival at WKU provides a different type of experience that might not be seen elsewhere, because films created in the South offer a different perspective than those created in Hollywood.

“It allows film festivals from this region to create different stories,” he said. “It’s a different market.”

Lash said he encourages all participants in the festival to continue to create films and enter them into festivals.

“This festival isn’t a stopping point,” he said. “We encourage them to get it out to the other film festivals.”