Alumna’s film earns spot at major festival

A short film produced by a recent Penn State alumna has been accepted into the biggest and longest running independent film festival in North America.

“The Derby Girls,” produced by Jennifer Crandell, who earend her film-video degree in 2012, has been accepted in the FirstGlance Film Festival in Hollywood.

FirstGlance has been ranked as one of the Top 25 Film Festival Investments by Moviemaker Magazine. In addition, films screened at the festival often find theatrical success. In the past six years, more than 90 percent of the features screened at the festival have gone on to theatrical and/or DVD release.

Crandell was surprised to find “The Derby Girls” had been accepted into the festival. “I was thrilled. Honestly, I had to do a double take. I thought I was opening a rejection email only to find out it was an official selection,” Crandell said. “Because I handled all positions in the crew myself, it feels really good that festivals are paying attention to my one-woman production.”

“The Derby Girls” is a short documentary about women who have a passion for roller derby, focusing on how the endeavor has affected their lives and the excitement it provides for participants. The film will be screened at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Chaplin Theater, located at 5300 Melrose Ave. in Hollywood. The festival runs from Friday, April 26, through, Sunday, April 28.

Crandell decided to make the documentary after witnessing roller derby in person.

“I came to do the subject because my friend, Johanna Kirchheimer, asked me to film the State College Area Rollers’ bouts for coaching purposes. After watching these girls play for a semester, I decided to learn a bit more about them, what derby does for them and show that they’re not some stereotype,” Crandell said. “These are hard-core ladies with deep layers, something I really respect coming from a Marine background.”

Crandell started her Penn State education after she ended her military service. As a member of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, she traveled all over the world, including stops in Australia, Djibouti, Dubai, Kuwait, Singapore and Tasmania. Attending Penn State did not decrease her intensity and passion, she just refocused it onto her class work and filmmaking.

During her time at Penn State she was consistently on the dean’s list while completing two majors, film-video and integrative arts. She received a Creative Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Architecture and was accepted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Crandell also completed an internship at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. She was accepted for one of 30 spots from among a pool of 3,000 applicants for that position.

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Last Updated April 22, 2013