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This year’s C + I Fest is right around the corner: a chance to highlight campus creatives

The Create + Imagine Festival poster promoting a screening of students’ short films. On Thursday, April 25, the festival will highlight student creativity through film, music and written work. PHOTO COURTESY OF PATRICK GIBBS

Students can enjoy the spring weather and Seawolves’ vibrant artistry at this year’s Create + Imagine Festival.

On Thursday, April 25, Stony Brook University’s Creative Writing and Filmmaking program will hold its second annual Create + Imagine Festival, also known as C + I Fest. Taking place on the Staller Steps at 6 p.m., this festival will highlight student creativity through film, music and written work. 

“The inspiration behind Create Imagine is that the filmmaking program and creative writing program is producing so many talented students that it just seemed a little unfortunate that we didn’t have some kind of big celebration of their work, especially as the programs grow,” Kate Levitt, filmmaking lecturer and C + I Fest faculty advisor, said. 

Throughout the spring semester, a team of student interns worked alongside Levitt to bring this festival to fruition, and their main task was curating performances for the event. Interns played an integral role in event planning, with their efforts including advertising, finding sponsors and booking student performers. 

“We have a full set lineup which is really amazing. I’m really excited to see how that will go,” C + I Fest intern Prachi Kadam, a senior technological systems management major with a filmmaking minor, said. 

The C + I Festival showcases the talents of Stony Brook students. Last year, the festival included works from both graduate and undergraduate students. But the curation process for this year exclusively displayed undergraduate students’ artistry, including the student band Chronic Delta. 

“I’m super excited for the band that we are having because they just dropped new music really, and it’s a banger. It’s absolutely amazing music,” Kadam said. 

At its core, the event aims to create a space for students to appreciate the University’s artistic hidden gems. However, whether students are studying filmmaking or biochemistry, Levitt believes this festival is meant for every Seawolf.  

Levitt mentioned Tata Chelidze, one of C + I Fest’s filmmakers, as an example of someone bridging the gaps between art and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. She emphasized that the Creative Writing and Filmmaking program is actively striving to be “STEM inclusive,” specifically in its film-focused areas.

“They come [to] the arts with such a unique way of pursuing their discipline,” Levitt said. “I think that having the ability to showcase art on campus is relevant to all students.”

Daria Danilina, a junior exchange student from University College London studying anthropology, is showcasing her short film “Echoes of Beslan” at this year’s festival. The film recounts the events of a 2004 terrorist occupation in Beslan, Russia.

Create + Imagine is going to be the first time I publically screen my work so I am feeling a little nervous but quite excited,” Danilina wrote in an email to The Statesman. “This festival seemed like a good opportunity to share my work with a welcoming community of like-minded people. But as a student, I am also looking forward to this festival as a learning experience.”

For the interns, planning this event allowed them to apply their knowledge from classroom learning to real-life scenarios; in bringing this festival together, they utilized their curating, advertising and managing skills. 

“I’m excited to see our hard work being put to life,” C + I Fest intern Emma Grimes, a senior majoring in creative writing with a minor in filmmaking, said. “The classes that I’ve been in, in terms of film and TV, have been like mock writers’ rooms, but this is an actual thing that we were working toward.”

Event planners hope this festival will serve as a unifying force for Stony Brook students. C + I Fest intern Haley Sim, a senior creative writing major with a scriptwriting specialization and a TV writing minor, emphasized the idea that the campus environments do not always foster a sense of community, so festivals of this nature are essential in cultivating student engagement. 

“[Stony Brook University is] commuter heavy and we’re not very much known for a large and colorful campus life,” Sim said. “I think having events like this where people can kind of gather and see each other in such a large open space is just really fun.”

For more information on C + I Fest, check out its official Instagram page.

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Sonya Gugliara
Sonya Gugliara, News Editor
Sonya is the News Editor of The Statesman. She is third-year journalism major and has been a writer for the paper since the beginning of her freshman year. She has written for the Staten Island Advance. Sonya does not know what else to say about herself.
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