The cast and crew of the student film “Cheater” prepare to shoot a scene. “Cheater” is one of five films that will be featured at the first-ever Drury Lane Film Festival April 22-23. (Photo: Drury University)

Five student films, spanning a variety of genres and themes, make up the first-ever Drury Lane Film Festival.

The event is April 22-23 in Clara Thompson Hall on the Drury University campus. All five films will screen on both nights.

“The films vary greatly,” said Justin Gannaway, Drury University theater instructor. “We’ve got a silent film in the mix, we’ve also got a horror-comedy and a sci-fi film. So, there’s going to be a lot of diversity in the topics explored and the genres that we have. It’s going to be interesting, and we’ve got something for everyone.” 

Each film in the Drury Lane Film Festival was written, produced and directed by Drury students. They used equipment and skills acquired to adapt during the pandemic.

“In that time, we got access to a lot of cameras and broadcasting equipment so that we could share recordings of our productions with the public,” Gannaway said. “This year, we were hoping to find a new and innovative way to use that equipment.”

The films are a collaborative effort between several departments, including theater. Music students helped write the music. Communication students operated cameras and lighting equipment and served as assistant directors. The animation department assisted in adding film credits and special effects.

“The most exciting thing about this project is that the students got to step into several roles, including directors, costume designers, sound engineers, production designers, assistant directors and composers,” Gannaway said. “They really got to stretch their skills on projects that wouldn’t necessarily be available to them at other universities. It’s a really unique project, and I’m excited to share the culmination of their work.”

The film lineup for the inaugural Drury Lane Film Festival is:

  • “The Metaphysical Salesman,” directed by Gwen Sloan
  • “HiFi, Hibachi and the Heist Yet to Happen,” directed by Paige Rogers
  • “Cheater,” directed by James FItzpatrick
  • “The Fault in Us,” directed by Kirstin Hildebrand
  • “Biograph,” directed by Jordan Mouser

The festival includes a red-carpet photo opportunity as well as refreshment options.

Want to go?

Tickets for the festival are $14 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $7 for non-Drury students and $3 for children and members of the Drury Community.

For more information, contact Justin Gannaway at 417-873-7326, or

Jeff Kessinger

Jeff Kessinger is the Reader Engagement Editor for the Springfield Daily Citizen, and the voice of its daily newsletter SGF A.M. He covered sports in southwest Missouri for the better part of 20 years, from young athletes to the pros. The Springfield native and Missouri State University alumnus is thrilled to be doing journalism in the Queen City, helping connect the community with important information. He and wife Jamie daily try to keep a tent on the circus that is a blended family of five kids and three cats. More by Jeff Kessinger