Volume 92, Issue 94
Thursday, March 25, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Reeling in Western's cinematic hopefuls
©Graphic by Kevin Forbes
By Sara Falconer
It is a night to recognize and celebrate the best film and video offerings from the past year. It isn't the charade known as the Academy Awards, but the fifth annual Western Film Festival.
Students scrambled to make the March 15 submission deadline, after which the films underwent an initial selection process. Those outstanding enough to be chosen will be screened tonight at 6 p.m. in the McKellar Room of the University Community Centre.
Prof. Janina Falkowska of the film studies department has organized the festival since its creation in 1995. She is pleased with the growth of interest and support for the event from the school community. "The whole university treats the festival quite seriously and it has been very successful in past years," Falkowska said.
This year, in addition to the departments of English (including film) and visual arts, the faculty of media and information studies has contributed financially. "MIT in particular has been extremely generous," Falkowska explains. She said she believes the collaboration of different administrations and student groups is one of the festival's strongest assets.
In fact, submissions from filmmakers in all faculties were encouraged. The only requirement was enrolment at Western. "This is an opportunity for students from the whole university, not just this department," Falkowska explains.
She maintains the festival is essential for aspiring filmmakers. "I love it and I think it's an important event," she said. "Students need their work to be seen by others."
There is a chance for more than a mere ego boost for the participants, as the winner from each category will receive over $300. The films will be judged in three separate categories including narrative, documentary and experimental.
The festival committee, comprised of various organizing members of the event, will be judging the submissions based on originality, style and technical competence. "Personally, I look for a good story and a concise message," Falkowska adds.
Most participants and their supporters are looking forward to tonight's showcase. First-year student Vicky Moufawad has entered a nine-and-a-half minute film entitled Hybrid: Memory and Fiction. The self-described "virgin videographer" made her piece last year.
"The film is a personal documentary about reconstructing a past you can deal with," the filmmaker says. "I was interested in cultural hybridity and the issues that arise from two incompatible systems of value," Moufawad says. However, its meaning is layered. "It's as much about the impact of making a documentary," she adds.
Moufawad is grateful for the opportunity not only to show her own film, but also to appreciate the work of others. "It's really wonderful, we'll leave enriched by the creative atmosphere around us in this community and the work of our peers."
Second-year film and MIT students Pat Davis and Matthew Alexander are also submitting their first film to the festival. Graffiti Art is an 11-minute documentary, made for the Film 270 course this year. "It tries to contrast the artistic nature of graffiti with the social fears that it breeds," Davis says.
He is also enthusiastic about the event. "This film festival is a nifty chance to relax and enjoy the work of our peers. Everyone should come out and see the films of our fellow Western students."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999