Students in Film 260 watch Humboldt International Film Festival submissions and judge entires. Photo by Anibal Polanco.

International festival reels universal film into Humboldt


Student-run Humboldt International Film Festival hosts film from across the globe for 51 years.

The longest running film festival entirely managed by students is hosted in the heart of Humboldt every spring.

Humboldt International Film Fest is open to any film submissions from around the world and combines international film with local film lovers and artists.

Screenings will begin Wednesday, April 18 and will continue for four days with the Best of the Fest screening on Saturday, April 21. Four final categories include experimental, narrative, documentary and animation.

A reappearing character in the animation category has been The Bum Collective’s 10-foot, one-eyed, orange monster, Lilly. Lilly Monster was originally drawn up in Calgary, Canada by Xstine Cook’s kids and has developed into a family-run series.

Cook’s three children, along with her sister’s three daughters, have been making animated shorts since 2010 and have participated in the festival for seven years. The first animated short of the series, Lilly’s Big Day, was drawn and voiced by Cook’s 3-year-old at the time.

This year, they submitted the film Lilly and the Baby, the most recent adventure of the monster babysitting a human child.

Cook said she was pleased by the reaction to the previous films by the Humboldt audience.

“There were all these stoned people and they all got the jokes,” Cook said. “It’s for kids, but they all were laughing.”

Aside from a class in the film department at Humboldt State, the festival is a campus club that anyone can join and contribute to. Students in the FILM 260 class and club participate in pre-screenings of festival submissions, judge each one and decide on which ones make the final cut.

Over its 51 years, the Humboldt International Film Festival has moved venues. Held for the first time in 1967 at the Sequoia Theater (currently the John Van Duzer Theatre), the festival has expanded to a yearly, four-day celebration of international film at Minor Theatre.

Maddy Harvey is a senior film major at HSU. Harvey has been involved in the International Film Fest since 2016 and this year, she is the co-director of entries.

Harvey says this year, the festival received more than 195 films from 22 countries around the globe.

“It’s really interesting to see how different countries and cultures express themselves through film, how different stories are told,” Harvey said.

French exchange student Joanna Cottel is part of the film class at Humboldt State and has loved her experience planning the festival.

“I have been part of organizing other film festivals in France, so I when I saw this one, I was like, hell yeah!” Cottel said.

Cottel says as an exchange student, she is proud to be participating in the festival.

Screenings will be divided into four days based on categories, and will begin at 5 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for each day and $10 for the Best of the Fest screening on Saturday, April 21.

“Even though the festival is international, the heart of it is in the Humboldt community,” Harvey said.

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