The Villanovan joins with new channel mtvU to promote student films

Ben Raymond

Most student artists have an outlet for their work. Musicians have coffee shops and church basement concerts. Painters have student galleries and local exhibitions. Actors and dancers perform on campus and beyond.

But one particular artist seems to be lost in translation: the student filmmaker.

Yes, film festivals are abundant: large, small, independent, West Coast, East Coast and everywhere in between. But few, if any, offer young filmmakers a chance to reach their target audience – their peers.

MTV is making an effort to change this with its new television program “Best Film on Campus.”

From Columbia to USC, Emerson to NYU, young auteurs across the country finally have a place to showcase their work to their fellow students.

“Best Film on Campus” began airing earlier this year on the network’s college channel mtvU.

The program’s mission is simple: to promote young filmmakers.

Submissions are received daily and go directly to the program’s Web site to be watched, rated and critiqued by you, the viewer.

Entries range from comedy to drama, documentary to experimental. And they all have one thing in common – all are by current film students.

By presenting their work to MTV’s fresh, young audience, “BFOC” has given student directors the exposure and recognition they have long deserved.

The opportunity to see one’s work appreciated, or possibly “discovered,” on “BFOC” has already been a saving grace for numerous filmmakers.

Now, after seeing an explosive rise in submissions and an increase in popularity, the program is expanding to reach a larger collegiate audience.

To better address this growing audience, mtvU development has put the selection of the program’s Film of the Week directly into the hands of the critic – the college critic to be precise.

In keeping with their for-students-by-students mission, it makes sense that the showcased film each week will now be selected by a college film critic.

And here enters The Villanovan. Earlier this month, MTV selected four film critics from college newspapers across the country to be a part of the program’s newest feature, Critics’ Corner.

Along with critics from UNC-Chapel Hill, Northwestern and Cal Poly, The Villanovan was selected.

Each week, one of the four critics features their Pick of the Week from the Web site’s many entries and showcases this film on air.

This is an opportunity for both the filmmaker and the critic, giving each a chance to share their talents and promote their respective universities on national television.

Last week, the first critic, Christina Strauch from the University of North Carolina selected “Rita” by USC senior Alison Teal Blehert-Koehn. Strauch’s review and Blehert-Koehn’s film (which has a four-star rating) premiered on mtvU that week.

My first selection and review will air on the channel in early November.

MTV and “Best Film on Campus” are trying to bring young filmmakers back to the forefront.

The spotlight that has long passed them by shines again on the young filmmaker.

Perhaps this program will breed a renewed appreciation for film among us wary 20-somethings and challenge us to better value student cinema.

Even Villanova, a university abnormally apathetic to the arts, has seen its fair share of film talent. Recently, a documentary titled “The Camden 28” by Villanova graduate Anthony Giacchino played at Connelly Center and has a 7.5 rating on

Look even at our current student body. Andrew Simone, the creator of the original TV series “Babel,” is one of these talents.

It takes a remarkable grade of dedication and passion to tackle such a project.

What he and his cast are doing is an outstanding example of the very talent MTV is now trying to promote. Take notice, Villanova.

“Best Film on Campus” is a tremendous opportunity for young filmmakers. They are artists the same as the others. These are the people who will inspire tomorrow’s moviegoers and make tomorrow’s classics.

Take the time to see their work today. Support the arts, support your fellow student and support your school.

For full information on the program and to see The Villanovan’s page, go to or