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Stephens' Summer Film Institute production will show at 10th anniversary Citizen Jane Film Festival

October 24, 2017

A short film that was produced, shot and edited by digital film students at Stephens College will premiere this weekend during the 10th annual Citizen Jane Film Festival, which runs Oct. 26-29, 2017 on the Stephens campus.

“Chasing AllieCat” a 14-minute film directed by Steph Borklund, assistant professor of digital film, will be shown as part of the festival’s “Ms. Ouri Made” short films, which begin at 10 a.m., Oct. 28 in the Warehouse Theatre.  

The film is based on the novel “Chasing AllieCat” by Rebecca Fjelland Davis, which follows the summer Sadie Lester is dumped with relatives in a small Minnesota town and relies on her mountain bike to save her from boredom. But events are anything but dull after she meets Allie and Joe, and the trio stumbled upon a priest in the woods, badly beaten and near death.

“I loved the book and had been thinking for awhile about making this film,” said Borklund. “I knew our students would do an amazing job.”

The film was made during the biannual Summer Film Institute, which gives students five days to produce, shoot and edit a film that is directed and led by professors and film professionals. Students shot film in five locations, including Finger Lakes State Park, Walt’s Bike Shop, Columbia Area Career Center and the Stephens College campus. (The SFI team is pictured above.) 

Freshmen and sophomores rotate through positions on set while juniors and seniors select a role on which they want to concentrate; everyone enjoyed the benefit of working side by side with professionals.

“We really use these project to enhance the students’ learning all the way around,” Borklund said.

To learn more about the film, visit

Other films at the festival with a Stephens’ connection include:

  • "For You," directed by Kat Nguyen ’17, will also show during Ms. Ouri Made.
  • "The Light of the Moon," starring alumna Stephanie Beatriz, will be shown at 1 p.m., Oct. 28 at Macklanburg Playhouse. A community discussion will follow the film.  
  • “Twerp,” a short film directed by Melissa Lion Lewis ’16, will be shown as part of the “Emerging Voice” short films, which begins at 4:15 p.m., Oct. 29 in the Warehouse Theatre. 
  • “Screen Grab: From Screenplay to Big Screen, Who Will Win?” involves five screenwriters from our MFA in TV and Screenwriting program. They will be pitching their films to a panel of esteemed judges, including Ken LaZebnik, director of our MFA program and a longtime LA screenwriter. The event runs from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Oct. 29 in Studio A at the Helis Communication Center. 

The Citizen Jane Film Festival was started in 2008 by several Stephens College professors to give students in the Digital Filmmaking program experience running a festival. Student volunteers continue to do the bulk of the work. That first year, the festival attracted such films as Academy Award-nominee “Trouble the Water” and hosted musical talent such as punk songstress Exene Cervenka. A year later, attendance grew by more than 50 percent, solidifying the community’s support of the festival.



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