About The Crew

Who Are We?

The Big Muddy Crew, formerly known as Film Alternatives, is a student-run organization at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale that focuses a majority of their time running one of the oldest, student-run film festivals in Illinois, dating all the way back to 1979.

In 1979, founded Mike Covell began this organization with about 40 volunteers and 800 festival-goers.  Covell came to SIU in 1975 after finishing graduate school at Ohio University, home of the Athens International Film Festival, another student-run event that Covell was involved with. It took three years after Covell arrived at SIU for the first Big Muddy Film Festival. The first meetings and organization work for the festival was in 1978 with the three-day launch in 1979. 

Many of the formers students who worked on the film festival while at SIU include Steve James, director of the award-winning 1996 documentary Hoop Dreams. Other award-winning filmmakers who were included in past festivals include: Joe and Kris Swanberg, Mario Contreras, Tom Ludwig and Academy Award-nominees Edgar Barens, Milcho Manchevski, among others. 

Our Mission

Our goal is to create a film festival that not only encourages all kinds of filmmaking including, but not limited to: documentary, animation, narrative and experimental film. We watch each film, screen some to the public to collect feedback and over the course of the year, we put together what’s known as The Big Muddy Film Festival. On top of the Big Muddy Film Festival, we also host two other film festivals. They are The Little Muddy Film and Media Festival, where we promote SIUC student work, and The Digital Muddy Media Festival, where we exhibit all types of expanding media in today’s times.

If any this sounds interesting to you, join us for a meeting or contact us here.


Faculty Advisor + Executive Director /  Sarah Lewison
President of the Big Muddy Crew / Aster Arseneau
Vice President of the Big Muddy Crew / Alex Rodriguez
Graduate Assistant / Molly Bandonis
Head of Graphic Design / Dorothy Evans
Head of Advertising / Ryan McCarthy
Head of Production / Caleb Bunn
Head of Finance / Elyse Hickey
Head of Public Relations / Kelechi Agwuncha
Head of Social Media / Jessy Brown
Visiting Artist + Juror Liaison / Ryan Johnston
Head of Programming / Dylan Gibson
Web Manager / Kennedy Joseph
Advertising Crew Member / Tyler Stone
Tech/Programming Crew Member / Thomas Bickel
Public Relations Crew Member / Elena Cruz
Public Relations Crew Member / Joel Lima
Finance Crew Member / Charlie Rogan

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