Professor, students to be in Chippewa Valley Film Festival

April 19, 2017

A scene from “Cor,” by UW-Stout students Greg Borman, Mara Jones and Tyler Klimek

The Chippewa Valley Film Festival will feature three films by University of Wisconsin-Stout students and one by a professor.

The annual event begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at Micon Cinemas Downtown, 315 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire. Learn more at the festival website.

The emcee will be UW-Stout Associate Professor Kevin Pontuti, whose film “Onere” also has been selected.

Approximately 20 short films of 20 minutes or less, out of about 800 submitted, were chosen for the festival. The UW-Stout submissions, by students mostly majoring in entertainment design, are:

“The Good, The Bad and The Goofy,” a two-minute animation, by Mariah Kestila, of Escanaba, Mich.

“Three friends flock together to pull off the greatest bird seed heist this side of the Mississippi. But what will happen when temptation becomes too strong and the bonds of their friendship are tested?” Kestila said.

The film began as a class assignment “that focused on creating colorful characters and putting them in a world that makes sense. I took inspiration from the old West and fused it with some fine feathered friends to make this animation come to life,” she said.

“Cor,” a three-minute experimental drama about a lost woman who also is trying to find her way out of a bad relationship, by Greg Borman, of Eagan, Minn.; Mara Jones, of St. Paul; and Tyler Klimek, of Mosinee.

It was created in January when the students traveled to New Zealand as part of a study abroad class with Pontuti.

“Kevin gave us an assignment to create a short film. The prompt was to make a film about a character lost in the woods who finds an object that helps them escape. We decided to take the prompt as sort of metaphorical, because we wanted to use it to tell a deeper story,” Borman said.

“Disconnected,” a six-minute narrative drama, by Sarah Mattes, of Rice Lake; Joshua Sipma, of Minnetonka, Minn.; and Ashley Weiss, of Cottage Grove, Minn.

“The film explores the reality of our generations. Sometimes, the thing that is meant to connect us and bring us together can actually pull us apart,” Sipma said. “Disconnect shows that even though we can be in close physical proximity to each other, mentally and emotionally some of us have checked out.”

A scene from “Onere” by UW-Stout Associate Professor Kevin PontutiThe film began as a class assignment but went beyond. “We wanted to invest in this and develop our skills but also tell a message. We picked a message that we would all be passionate about sharing. The concept of social media is very applicable to anyone that uses it — so pretty much everyone,” Sipma said.

Watch the film here.

“Onere,” by Pontuti, loosely set in the Middle Ages, is about a young woman who bears a strange burden.

The eight-minute film, written and directed by Pontuti with a crew that included several other UW-Stout faculty and staff, won an award in October at the Flyway Film Festival. See the trailer here.

Pontuti works with students in UW-Stout’s entertainment design program, which has a concentration in digital cinema.



Top: A scene from “Cor,” by UW-Stout students Greg Borman, Mara Jones and Tyler Klimek

Second: A scene from "The Good, The Bad and The Goofy," by Mariah Kestila

Third: A scene from "Disconnected" by Sarah Mattes, Joshua Sipma and Ashley Weiss

Bottom: A scene from “Onere” by UW-Stout Associate Professor Kevin Pontuti