This Saturday, several hundred students packed themselves into the Harris center gymnasium for this year’s incarnation of Grinnell’s premier film festival, Titular Head, commonly called TitHead. The film festival featured short student-made videos, including original films, parodies and satires.
Putting together this year’s festival were Peter Aldrich ’15 and Ben Doehr ’15. The pair of friends worked tirelessly the previous week to distribute tickets, select and edit videos and pick hosts to fill time in the breaks between films. They even conducted research on past TitHeads in order to know how to structure the event and update the introductory film.
“I … redid a little of the TitHead intro video,in order to make it more modern. The last time it was updated was in 2008, so there were some good TitHeads between 2008 and now that I wanted to feature in the intro video,” Doehr said.
Although their job entailed speaking in front of a drunk and rowdy audience, Aldrich and Doehr claimed that their nerves didn’t play a big factor when they were out there and that overall the experience was rewarding.
“I think it was so much fun. When we played the intro video, and the galaxy clip and THX sound starting playing, hearing the crowd go wild made it all worth it,” Aldrich said.
Several films in the festival received high scores, but out of these, the film of Thomas Grabinski ’15, “Tornado of Love,” clinched the top spot with an average score of 8.7. The film features a young couple in love, played by Jacob Getzoff ’18 and Destini Powell ’17, who decide to walk to Kum & Go and buy a tornado, only to be followed by a jealous admirer, played by Ben Charette ’16. As the couple share the deep-fried snack in a manner reminiscent of “Lady and the Tramp,” the stalker comes from behind and cuts the tornado in half before their lips can meet. As a senior and avid film enthusiast, Grabinski felt that he needed to enter the contest, and derived inspiration from several TV and movie tropes.
“There are two genres that I was trying to pay homage to … I was picturing two people going at a tornado as this ‘Tim and Eric’ moment … and I also wanted to do this John Carpenter slasher thing … and I wanted this jealous, Michael Myers specter, but not a knife, it needed to be something more mundane and silly, so scissors,” Grabinski explained.
Despite the festival running smoothly, Aldrich and Doehr afterward faced rumors of privacy violations. One student alleged that organizers put names on the videos without asking permission first. Due to the graphic nature of some of the films, some students became upset with the decision. To compound these privacy issues, there were rumors on campus that the films were being shared with alumni.
Aldrich and Doehr responded to these allegations saying that they specifically asked for usernames when accepting submissions. When producers specifically requested that their usernames be removed from the film, those requests were honored. Aldrich additionally clarified that only a few films in a “highlight reel” were being shared at an alumni event, and that they contacted the director of every film they selected to receive their consent.
“We take this issue of consent, with regards to how the video will be used, very seriously…we have no idea how this rumor was started. It’s absolutely false,” said Aldrich.