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Student work has a place at Beloit film fest

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Ann Fiore
February 12, 2014

The Beloit International Film Festival has always showcased great work by students.

This year, a group of UW-Milwaukee filmmakers will be part of the mix, demonstrating how the next generation creates art.

Niko Aldrich, a 2012 UW-M graduate, was one of the brains behind “Mediocracy,” a comedy web series about college students navigating mediocre jobs, crazy relationships and careers. The three-episode series will be screened at noon Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Hendricks Center for the Arts, 700 College St., Beloit.

Aldrich said he and friends Brian Lis and Aaron Alpert initially envisioned the project as a five-minute “webisode” about college life—things he and his friends experienced every day.

“There’s a lot of inherent comedy in being an art major,” he said.

Capitalizing on their social media savvy, the students sought funding through a Kickstarter campaign and spread the word about auditions. A blogger based in the United Kingdom gave the series a surprising amount of publicity.

“It’s hard to gauge where the fan base is going to be” when blogs are involved, said Aldrich, now 24. “It was interesting to see how that worked out.”

“Mediocracy” eventually grew into three 22-minute episodes that became part of Aldrich’s senior project.

Aldrich now plans to move to Los Angeles. He wants to get investors and begin shooting a horror feature film called “Immanence.”

The web series was a great learning experience, he said.

“It was kind of our opportunity to do something on a larger scale and have the luxury of making mistakes,” he said. “Going into a feature film feels a lot less scary.”

Cast and crew members will lead a question-and-answer session after the Saturday BIFF screening.

The film festival runs through Sunday, Feb. 23.



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