College is the ultimate cheerleader. And the Cat vs Griz Student Filmmaker Competition is a shining example of creativity worth cheering about.
At 38 years old, I am currently a sophomore in college. I went back to school after having previously flunked out in another life – you know, the one I lived nearly 20 years ago. And by “lived” I mean totally fucked up.
College as a grown woman is, by far, the most fun I’ve ever had, and I’m so grateful I’m old enough to know that. One of the things I appreciate most is that the creative risks I’ve taken in college are so much more satisfying than the chances I took before going back to school. There is some kind of powerful and supportive energy surrounding the college experience that the real world does not contain. The rejection letters papering one entire wall of my office are a testament to the fact that living a creative life is not always championed by the real world.
But college. Dear Lord. College is the ultimate cheerleader – some kind of supercharged, well-connected cheerleader that can make your dreams come true.
The Audience Awards’ Cat vs Griz competition is one shining example of this. The Cat vs Griz Audience Awards competition is between college rivals University of Montana and Montana State. The cool part is that the winner is decided by YOU! When I was asked to review a couple of the 29 short films submitted, I was excited to take part in lauding the creative efforts of my fellow students (even if most of them are 20 years my junior.) The first film I watched was Bobby Jahrig’s ski film The Other Side, a tiny little nugget of goodness.
This six-minute documentary peppered with amazing shots of Montana’s majestic beauty, which was quite a pleasure in itself. The rest of the film was spent following Ian Hamilton, a professional slopestyle skier (which, in case you don’t know, is the insane act of performing the most difficult tricks while getting as much air as possible, sometimes off ski jumps as big as 72-feet.) Filmmaker Bobby Jahrig was able to show, in very little time, the binary nature of Hamilton’s world – skinning the wilderness of Montana virtually alone versus slopeskiing at resorts surrounded by people. Regardless of the venue, Hamilton’s endeavors seemed equally life-threatening to me.
My husband, rock ‘n’ roll drummer and special-ed teacher, told me recently about a study that found that kids aren’t having fun on playgrounds anymore. We’ve made everything too safe. There’s not enough risk involved to make it interesting. After seeing The Other Side, I feel confident saying those kids that yearn for risk, whose souls are fed by adventure, have the chance to find this in the glorious state of Montana.
Next week I’ll take a look at another of the contenders in the Cat vs Griz competition. I encourage you to take a peek at the rest of the films, too. Spend some time supporting these young filmmakers by viewing and voting on these short but worthy films. Prove me right. Give one lucky winner the chance to experience what matriculation really feels like.
Vote for your favorite student filmmaker here.
Watch more Cat vs Griz documentaries here.