Your Hollywood connection in the midwest.
The WIFI Film Festival is 100% free to the public and is intended to provide a high quality film festival experience for our community and visitors of all types. We do not make one cent off of this festival, and all money goes directly into funding the festival. The staff do this purely on a volunteer basis and solely to provide this service to the public.
In 2019, we launched the WIFI film festival to much fanfare. We were featured on CBS, NBC, the Topeka Capital Journal and the Washburn Review among others. We were able to show films from a wide variety of filmmakers including Shia LaBouf, an Academy Award winning film “Skin”, and Emmy Award winning filmmaker Yasmin Mistry.
Information about 2021 coming soon!
In 2017, Matthew Nyquist, an experienced filmmaker, joined the Department of Mass Media at Washburn University as an assistant professor in film and video. Nyquist’s Hollywood background gave him a vision for a film program that would encourage and help prepare Washburn students to take their stories from the Midwest to a national stage through film.
Nyquist’s dedication and enthusiasm for the mass media program was shared by his colleagues in the department and championed by Maria Stover, the chair of the Department of Mass Media. Through a unique opportunity provided by Allan Holzman, acclaimed Hollywood filmmamer and lecturer at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, the idea of a film festival at Washburn was born and the very first WIFI Film Festival featured Holzman’s documentary on DACA and immigration.
In August 2018, the Department of Mass Media faculty created an internal organization called the Washburn International Film Institute, or WIFI for short. Under the direction of Nyquist, a dedicated leadership comprised of Washburn faculty and valuable community members was formed.
Each year, the WIFI Film Festival adopts a theme that it promotes through its work in the community and on campus. This year, the festival has adopted Washburn University’s spring 2019 theme: Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Action. The featured film at the 2019 WIFI Film Festival, by Allan Holzman, expressed these ideas as it looks into DACA and immigration in the United States.
WIFI is dedicated to promoting and celebrating film production, stories from the Midwest, and education at Washburn University, in the Topeka community, and in the state of Kansas. Its leadership holds to the mission statement of Washburn University and sees WIFI as an organization that will allow the department to foster and engage in relationships that will enhance students’ lives and help them in their development as productive and responsible citizens.
At the core of WIFI’s inception is the belief that cinema is one of the most democratic arts with its ability to reach large audiences on an accessible and inclusive level.
Each year, the WIFI Film Festival adopts a theme that it promotes through its work in the community and on campus. Last year, the festival adopted Washburn University’s spring 2019 theme: Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Action. The featured film at the 2019 WIFI Film Festival, by Allan Holzman, expressed thosee ideas as it looks into DACA and immigration in the United States.
We hold the guiding principle that students at Washburn, Topeka community members, and Kansans should have a place to showcase and promote their work and come together to celebrate stories from the Midwest in film and artistic expression. We believe there are unique stories that can only be found in the Midwest, and particularly in Kansas. We support filmmakers in producing and creating stories from the Midwest that need to have a voice in our world and we advance the impact of those stories.
2020 Partners will be added soon!
2019 WIFI Film Festival Partners:
Washburn University Partners:
College of Arts and Sciences
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Washburn Student Government Association
The Department of Music
The Department of English
The Department of Theatre
The Department of History
The Department of Art
The Department of Political Science
The Mulvane Art Museum
-President’s Award - Picked by the President of Washburn University
Awards given by working Hollywood industry professionals:
-Allan Holzman Award for Special Achievement in Editing (Picked by Allan Holzman)
-Ivy Pruss Screenwriting Award (Picked by Ivy Pruss)
-Golden Bowtie – Best film overall (All Categories)
-Golden Ichabod – Best film by a Washburn student or alum
-Audience Award Narrative– Overall vote from the audience for best overall narrative film
-Audience Award Documentary – Overall vote for the best documentary
-Best directing – Narrative
-Best directing – Documentary
-Best Cinematography – Narrative
-Best Cinematography – Documentary
-Best Sound Design
-Best performance by an actor
-Best performance by an actress
-Best production design
-Best costume design
-Special Achievement in Social Progress through film
-Excellence in Title Design
-Best film by a Kansas High School student
-Best film by a Kansas Middle School student - Washburn Scholarship as prize
1. Film must be in English or have English subtitles.
2. Film must have been completed on or after January 1st, 2017.
3. Film must not be of pornographic nature. (This includes “torture porn”, which are films that feature violence in a gratuitous manor regardless of sexual content)
4. Film must not promote anything that is obviously immoral.
$100 prize goes to the best overall film.