April 6, 1972.
On this day, students of IUPUI's Herron School of Art began a three-day Student Film Festival, an event to screen student-made films solicited from over 400 colleges and universities across the United States. The festival was sponsored by the Herron Student Life organization, which brought in a noted film scholar from Ohio to judge the entries. They also offered cash prizes.
At this time, before today's streaming media and even the wide availability of video cassettes allowed people to watch movies in private, people experienced film together in darkened theaters and rooms. Student government organizations hosted campus screenings of classic and not-so-classic Hollywood and international film fare as social events to attract crowds. Film aficionados showed silent films and early talkies. Area-studies groups put on films produced in the countries in question. People gathered to enjoy and study works of art on celluoid. Afterwards, they discussed what they saw. Film watching entailed social interactions.
The First Annual Student Film Festival received almost no notice in the pages of the Sagamore, the student newspaper. This may have been because at the time Herron was located up at 16th and Pennsylvania Streets, a sizeable distance from much of the rest of IUPUI. We do not know who won the competition prizes. Perhaps because of this lack of coverage there does not seem to have been a Second Annual Student Film Festival.
To learn more about student-organized arts activities, please consult records in the IUPUI Special Collections and Archives. Talk to us at email@example.com.