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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Independent films come to B-CS

The+films+were+screened+inside+an+airplane+hangar+at+Coulter+Field+in+Bryan+during+the+Red+Wasp+Film+Festival.
Photo by Photo by Leah Kappayil

The films were screened inside an airplane hangar at Coulter Field in Bryan during the Red Wasp Film Festival.

The Red Wasp Film Festival Sunday showcased films from all over the world and celebrated its 15th year of providing the Brazos Valley with high-quality independent film Sunday night.
The Red Wasp Film Festival began with a desire from Carol and Craig Conlee to increase film appreciation in the Bryan-College Station community and to create a platform for up-and-coming filmmakers to showcase their work.
This year’s festival was held at Coulter Air Field in Bryan, and awards were given for Audience Favorite, One to Watch and Best of Festival.
Carol Conlee created the Red Wasp Film Festival in 2003, while she owned a local bed and breakfast, called the 7F Lodge. Playboy Magazine called Conlee, wanting to use the 7F Lodge as the backdrop for a photoshoot declined the offer, and when another filmmaker called later in that week, she was hesitant to accept any offers without looking at a script.
“He drove out, gave me the script, and it was extremely good,” Conlee said. “When it was over with, I asked him ‘Where are you going with this?’ He told me that the only place you can go as an independent filmmaker is to festivals. I had an event facility, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ And that was the start.”
Mic Brown, a College Station High School senior, submitted his film “For the Love of the Art” and won the award for One to Watch. Brown said he has been interested in film since his freshman year, when he took an introductory course.
“This is the first film I’ve made that I’ve been comfortable showing people. I feel like a lot of people struggle with conveying topics that need to be discussed. So film is a good way to bring it up in popular culture,” Brown said.
Mike Downey, a returning attendee, said the Red Wasp Film Festival contributes to the community.
 “It’s a place for someone who doesn’t have a million dollar budget to be on the screen,” Downey said. “I think that’s the main reason it’s around.”
Jason Habel was this year’s Audience Favorite, and has participated in various other film festivals.
“Short film is important for self-expression. There’s not a lot of places where people can express non-commercial ideas in a public forum like this,” Habel said. “Short films give people an opportunity to make things that might not be seen in a regular movie theater.”
The Arts Council has taken over the responsibility of organizing the festival in recent years. Jan Creery is a member of The Arts Council Committee and is excited for the festival’s future.
 “I think that’s really going to help with our community to get us on the map, people will start to recognize this as a world class film festival. Come to it next year. Submit your films. Please come see it. It’s something out of the ordinary,” Creery said.
 After 15 years, Conlee hasn’t ceased to believe in the impact that film has on the surrounding community, and beyond.
“No one knows who goes where from here,” Conlee said. “The power to tell story is the stuff that can change the world.”

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