For it's 41st year, the student-run film festival, The Big Muddy takes off next week.
The festival showcases independent filmmakers from all over the world for a week, at no cost.
President of the Big Muddy Crew Aster Arseneau says for the southern Illinois region, the festival is a cultural institution.
"Well, I'm from Carbondale, and I feel this is a love letter to Carbondale from me since I'm leaving soon because it allows people to see films they wouldn't see anywhere else," Arseneau said.
The festival is showcasing 98 films from 33 different countries. Arseneau said the festival had over 300 film submissions. She said seeing all the different perspectives shown in the unique films is incredible as it is also showcasing emerging filmmakers.
"It's all happening here in southern Illinois and creating that dialogue," Arseneau said. "I think it's really beautiful."
Head of Advertising for the Big Muddy, Ryan McCarthy said southern Illinois isn't usually known for being a cultural center for the region, but that is the space the festival is trying create.
"It's culturally responsible; it has this great impact and it brings the community together," McCarthy said. "And, it's free and entertaining."
This year's festival, like previous years, brings the varying human condition under a microscope of comedy, drama, social activism, enviromentalism, sex, and music.
The festival runs from February 18th through 24th. To see the full week's scheudle and list of jurors and their biographies click here.