Anderson University Black Bird Film Festival to Be in Person This Year


Anderson, Ind. — Anderson University’s fifth annual Black Bird Film Festival is planning to return as an in-person event after going virtual last year due to the global pandemic. The program is scheduled to take place at Reardon Auditorium on Wednesday, April 28, with doors opening to the public at 6:15 p.m. and the screening of films beginning at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the cinema program in AU’s Department of Communication and Design Arts, the festival showcases the work of student filmmakers

A combination of a movie premiere, a film festival, and an awards show, the festival celebrates the collaborative work of AU’s cinema media arts, public relations, visual communication, and theater students.

Cinema and media arts majors spend countless hours writing scripts, planning scenes, directing a crew, filming, and editing to compete for a chance to win a “Squawkies” award for Best Director, Best Film, Best Actor/Actress, Audience Choice, and more. This red carpet event provides students the experience of showcasing their films on the big screen.

Jack Lugar, associate professor of cinema and media arts at AU, said that if present COVID-19 conditions hold, an audience of 300 will be able to attend the event, with all appropriate safety precautions still set in place. “The move from our regular venue to the larger Reardon Auditorium came with some additional expenses, so we’re very grateful to Steve Folgate’s local Allstate agency for a sizable donation that will enable us to stage the festival,” Lugar said.

Lugar noted that the festival typically features short narrative and documentary films that AU students produce as both class and independent projects. Winners, he added, receive trophies that the cinema program has dubbed ‘the coveted Squawkies.’”

Dr. David Baird, chair of the Department of Communication and Design Arts, said campus excitement about the film festival had been growing dramatically before the virus forced the event to go online last spring. “But we anticipate that the electricity will be back,” Baird said. “It’s always a big night for the student filmmakers.”

Trophy costs are underwritten by Lugar Real Estate. The admission-free festival is open to students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and film buffs in the community. For more information, contact Jack Lugar.

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.