Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


‘Faces of Void’: Badger Films sees success at festivals with recent flick

Student-run film group selected for festivals
Rohan Pemmasani

Last year, a group of independent University of Wisconsin students released a new film titled “Faces of Void.”

Written and directed by Badger Films president Rohan Pemmasani, the film has been officially selected for several online film festivals, including the Black Panther International Film Festival and the First Time Filmmaker Sessions. Aside from online festivals, the film has also seen releases in a variety of locations, spanning from California all the way to India and South Africa.

The film stars students Andre Cansenco and Monica Ho and presents an intriguing premise of an internet scammer who faces a moral quandary with his new target — an elderly woman.


Though there were hurdles along the way, feedback for the film has been incredibly positive thus far, receiving the Special Jury Award at the Taiga International Film Festival and a nomination for Best First Time Director at the Black Panther International Film Festival.

Despite the positive feedback from audiences and festival jury members, filming itself was not always smooth sailing. But, Pemmasani said, that is not uncommon for the filmmaking process.

“The lighting was bad, everything was bad,” Pemmasani says. “I kept tweaking it. Somewhere along the line, it became what we all wanted it to be.”

Pemassani said the hardest part of the film process was the planning. Principle shooting may take a few days — or a couple of weekends, in the case of this production — but scouting for locations and preparing equipment and the crew can present unforeseen challenges.

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Though the film was released recently, it was finished almost a year ago — the post-production process took nearly six months.

“Faces of Void” represents a bold new step for Badger Films and marks a success for the organization as a whole.

Badger Films is the only organization on campus that makes films in a non-academic setting, meaning filmmakers of any experience level can join, which is something the group prides itself on.

“This is a community, we welcome everyone,” vice president of Badger Films Alan Zarzycki said. “Badger Films appeals to both sides of the spectrum.”

Those who have no experience and just want to try out making a film and expterts who are looking to help out are embraced equally.

For those on the UW campus seeking an opportunity to make films with a low time commitment, Badger Films works for tight schedules. It also offers an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience with real film equipment in a low-pressure environment.

Badger Films selects its projects through the student body itself — students pitch scripts to the board and members vote on which of them they’d like to officially film. With this method, everyone is given an equal opportunity to see their creative vision come to life.

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Badger Films doesn’t just appeal to those with experience in the arts. The board itself is composed of majors in various fields, even those not necessarily art related, who all simply have a love for filmmaking.

On the question of where filmmakers should start in their journey, the answer is not clear-cut. For many aspiring filmmakers, questions about budgets, time commitments and making connections with others who are interested in collaborating inevitably arise.

Most filmmakers are hesitant when they start out on the independent scene because of a fear that their vision may not be fully realized, but members of the club ensure that there is room for mistakes and even encourage missteps.

The organization is relatively new, having begun in 2021 during the pandemic — a time that was notoriously difficult for filmmakers.

Badger Films hopes to see successes like it has seen with “Faces of Void” in future projects and is even working on new ones in the meantime.

The organization currently has three other projects in the works — “Hedgehog’s Dilemma,” “Drama” (working title) and “The Helper” — all student-led productions that expect to start filming this year. Casting calls for the first two of these projects have been closed as of this time.

For more information about the organization, email the organization at [email protected] or follow them on Instagram @badgerfilmsuw.

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