Volume 95, Issue 91

Tuesday, March 26, 2002
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Mustangs win in triple overtime

Calm, adversity, then success

Cunningham blasts last place ranking

Forum addresses UWO film fest in-fighting

Tiny tories still squirming

Forum addresses UWO film fest in-fighting

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

The future of the University of Western Ontario Film Festival was put in the hands of student filmmakers Friday afternoon at a roundtable discussion, held to deal with debate that has followed this year's festival.

Last week, following the Mar. 13 UWO Film Festival, a series of e-mails and open letters posted on the Western Undergraduate Film Society bulletin board expressed a contentious debate over logistical aspects of the festival.

Approximately 40 people attended Friday's meeting, which was arranged by organizers of this year's festival to provide a forum for constructive discussion aimed at improving next year's event.

"Overall, we felt this was a good festival, but yes, we want to make it better," said Maureen McGoey, an organizer of this year's festival.

"This is a student-run festival, it is not a professionally-run festival," she added.

Students in attendance questioned the criteria used for selecting the 14 films that made it to festival competition from the 41 that were submitted. Concerns were also raised about the judging of the event, the distribution of prize money and the overall goal of the festival.

David Mewa, who openly criticized the organization and judging of the festival after his heavily promoted film, Supremo Logic, failed to win a prize, read a statement to the assembled crowd.

Mewa apologized for personal insults directed at organizers of the event and said, since he posted his original letter, he has been accused of being a "sore loser" and a "sour grape."

He said he wants to make the film festival "competitive" and would like clear guidelines set out to avoid logistical problems in future years.

Michael Kuchma, a fourth-year English and visual arts student, said he thought the festival should be a venue for showcasing filmmaking talent at Western.

"I don't think it's a competition – I think it's an exhibition of talent," he said.

Kuchma called for more dialogue between students of all different faculties at Western, in particular with regards to the process of pre-selecting festival films.

Lucius Dechausay, who placed second in the festival and posted a response to Mewa's letter last week, suggested the use of categories for selecting films and discussion about why certain films were selected.

Mewa proposed new categories for judging films and awarding prizes – for example, a special jury prize and a people's choice award.

Festival organizers said they would take Friday's discussion and recommendations into account when planning next year's festival.

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