MENOMONIE — The inaugural Red Cedar Film Festival will feature more than 30 films — local, regional and international — today through Sunday in downtown Menomonie.

A total of 31 films were selected out of 70 submitted. Submissions came from 17 states and eight foreign countries. The films chosen are from nine states and six countries — Australia, China, Croatia, France, Germany and Ireland.

Most of the films, 25, are shorts along with six nearly feature-length films up to 1½ hours.

The film screening venues are the historic main theater in the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, 205 Main St. E., and the nearby Wilson Park bandshell. For the schedule and ticket information, go to the festival website.

The genres include drama, fantasy, action, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, comedy, romance, horror, sci-fi, family, documentary and music video.

“The festival will provide an opportunity for the audience to view films that they would otherwise not have the occasion to see. The selections are extremely diverse as entries arrived from all over the world,” said UW-Stout professor Peter Galante.

“Stari Grad (Old Town),” for example, is about a boy in Old Town, Dubrovnik, Croatia, hiding from artillery fire who makes a wish for peace.

The films will be shown in thematic blocks to highlight different approaches and world views. “The festival experience encourages the audience to engage in the social exchange, meet and discuss the films with other cinema fans,” Galante added.

Galante is festival co-director with Jeff McSweeney, Mabel Tainter director. They will speak Saturday. Galante, event founder, is a filmmaker and director of UW-Stout’s new video production undergraduate program.

Other featured speakers will be Rick Vacius, founder of the Flyway Film Festival held in the Pepin area; and Kevin Pontuti, a filmmaker, former UW-Stout professor and now a professor at University of Pacific in Stockton, Calif.

Organizers hope the festival will provide an economic boost to the city and region while also promoting UW-Stout, the latter through increased exposure to the university and programs.

“My hope is that this will grow into something big and help make the arts come alive for the residents of Menomonie and Dunn County. It will be a real treat,” McSweeney said.

The other festival co-director is Anna McCabe, of UW-Stout’s Discovery Center, with coordinator Rebecca Thacker, also of the Discovery Center.

For more information go to redcedarfilm.org.

Local filmmakers

Five short films by UW-Stout students, faculty and staff will be shown beginning at noon Saturday. They include “Writer’s Block E,” by Andrew McIntosh, technology and visual resources coordinator for the School of Art and Design.

“Writer’s Block E” is about an “author struggling to write despite constant interruptions. As the interruptions continue, his thoughts and story become increasingly more violent,” McIntosh said, calling his film a narrative with a “slight horror twist.”

He conceived the film while writing a novel. He has been making films for six years and also has made Old Spice commercial parodies.

Films by UW-Stout students include:

• “It Came from Lake Menomin,” by Frances Martin, of Bancroft, about a half-fish half-man forced from his home in the lake because of extreme pollution caused by a vengeful scientist. To return to the lake, the creature must defeat the scientist and save the town. Bancroft is a senior in entertainment design.

• “Spin,” by Jonathan Wheeler, of Kohler, a graduate student in the Master of Fine Arts in design program

• “LeOssa,” by Amanda Schroeder of Spring Valley, a senior in entertainment design

• “DAD.u.Men.ta.Ry” by Ashley Barningham, of Bristol, who graduated in May in entertainment design

The festival, with the motto “Expanding the Art of Film,” will have seven competition categories, including two for students.

Winners will receive the Copper Quill award, a feather quill replica of the traditional quill pen weathervane that sits atop UW-Stout’s Bowman Hall Clock Tower. Jurors will include UW-Stout faculty and staff, regional film experts and others.

An award social will be Friday, and a closing brunch Sunday.

Along with UW-Stout and the Mabel Tainter, sponsors include the Menomonie Area Chamber and Visitor Center, Menomonie Market Food Co-op, Volume One and Wisconsin Public Radio.