Three student films accepted into the Bison Bison Film Festival

Hailey Walsh, Staff Writer

Wayne State College goes to the Bison Bison Film Festival every year , despite being one of the smaller schools participating.  

WSC students went from not being able to get any films in to having the most films last year. This year, film students topped their record and had 5 short films accepted.  

Shorts are generally 20 minutes or less. Short films are either concept films or films that could be picked up and made into a feature.  

“For our production students, [short films] teach them how to make films so when they graduate, they’re able to make a feature based on these small works,” Mike White, a professor at WSC who oversees the KWSC productions, said. 

The Bison Bison Film Festival accepts only undergraduate and graduate students. Each project is individual and separated into categories across all genres. Each film is screened in Beaufort, a historic theater. A panel of industry professionals decide the first, second and third place winners and awards each one with $1,000.  

Five WSC films were accepted into the Bison Bison Film Festival. The first one accepted is a comedy titled “The King of Berry” by Nathan Gusman. The second one is a comedy titled “It’s the Journey” by Joseph Merkel. The third one is a horror titled “Exodus” by Nathan Blizzard. The fourth one is a drama titled “Girl,” by Emma Franco. The fifth one is an experimental romance titled “Gills” by Griffin Presnell.  

“Exodus” was also accepted into Fault Line, a national short film festival.  

Junior Blake Bodlak was the cinematographer for “Gills,” “It’s the Journey” and “Girl.”  

“This will be my first time going to Bison so I’m super excited to see all of the films and meet other film makers,” Bodlak said. “Making connections with other film makers is always my favorite part of any festival experience. It’s very rewarding to have anything you’ve worked on be recognized in this way so I’m just happy that all of these films get to be screened and appreciated by a wider audience!”  

WSC students began film production during the spring and fall semesters of 2022 and completed the films in the spring of 2023. The students were aided by White, who executive produces every film.  

Although we only see the finished products, these five films had a long journey to Bison Bison. A screenwriting competition held at WSC every semester is where it began. This competition brings in judges from outside of the college to choose two or three films. The winners are given the option to produce and/or direct or hand off the film to someone else. Each film is then assigned to producers and directors. These producers and directors choose the cinematographers and all the other key roles in the film. WSC does every single aspect for their films, unlike most schools. This includes casting, costuming, post productions, and even publication and marketing.  

It’s not all competition here at WSC. White stated that he’s excited to see a last-minute entry into Bison titled “Flight of the Trouser Snake” from the University of Missouri-KC.  

While there’s a lot to love in the film world, White stated that his favorite part of his job are the screenings.  

“It’s one thing when it’s your stuff, but when it’s your students, it’s better because you can see them growing and the potential,” White said. 

There are currently five other films in KWSC production, so stay tuned to keep viewing the incredible work by WSC students and faculty.