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.


Hassan Pitts is an interdisciplinary artist interested in fashioning images around absorption, sensation, emotion, movement, and gesture. Hassan received a BA in German studies from Denison University, a BFA in photography from Kutztown University, and holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. Currently, he splits his time examining issues of memory and location with themes of transience manifested physically, emotionally, and digitally.

Kennedy Joseph is a Cinema/Photography and English student at Southern Illinois-University. Her passions analyzing film form from a literary standpoint in the form of film criticism. In between watching movies, reading books and writing reviews on her blog, she spends her time investigating the humanistic elements of film and how they relate to the world outside.

Kelechi Agwuncha is a current Cinema/Photography student with a minor in africana studies. As a filmmaker, she seeks to illustrate stories and document narrative that expose the fundamental differences of the human experience. Her work has voyaged through various exhibition spaces including the Black International Cinema Berlin, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) x Instagram Shorts Festival, and the Langston Hughes African American Film Festival.

Emma Vogelsberg is currently studying Industrial Design and Communication Design with a minor in Art History. As a designer, she strives to create products and visual work that examines and cultivates utility and clean, construction. Her work has been featured in various galleries and exhibitions such as the U.S. Department of Education, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences in Washington, D.C., the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design at the New School, the Pratt’s Institute Pratt Manhattan Gallery, and in the 2015 - 2016 Scholastics Art & Writing Art.Write.Now.Tour.

Dorothy Evans is a Cinema/Photography student with a minor in Art History at Southern Illinois-Carbondale. This is her first year in Big Muddy and hopes to continue to support independent filmmakers in the future.

Danny Connolly is a freshman at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale studying Radio, TV and Digital Media with a specialization in Electronic Journalism and a minor in Theatre. Independent cinema is a passion of his and one of his favorite films is The Spectacular Now (2013). Upon graduating, Danny hopes to work at a news station.

Alex Rodriguez is a Cinema/Photography student at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale from just outside of Chicago in Lakemoor, Illinois . He hopes to use his education to start a career in film history, working in museums and setting up festivals like this one.

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