Friday, February 27, 2009

USF Human Rights Film Festival 2009: Student Films

I guess not too many people are big on human rights

Ouch. The only thing worse than a tough crowd is no crowd whatsoever.

Okay, so people didn't exactly flock to the student film portion of USF's Human Rights Film Festival - there was an audience of less than twenty. But I like to think of it as intimate. You know, an intimate group of people willing to devote their time to learn more about the various violations of human rights that plague our world today... and then there was me, a journalist in a Digital Media Production class who was only there because it was part of an assignment. But that's not to say I didn't enjoy myself and learn quite a bit. You know, because I did.

First up on the block was a film made by Kate Elston called "Presente". It was a short, focused piece that revolved around one particular part of the protests held at the School of the Americas - a person calls out the name and age of a person killed by soldiers trained at the School of the Americas and the crowd (which lies in the thousands) responds together with "presente," or "present" in Spanish. I was surprised by how short the film was and, to be honest, I kind of expected more information to be given on the situation, though I can understand that it would have ruined the focus of the film. Nevertheless, "Presente" fulfilled its role well as both an artistic and informative piece.

Next up was a film created by Alexandra Platt & crew called "Soy Niente," or "I Am Nothing". It documented the growing problem of gypsies in Italy not being recognized as Italian citizens or having the ability to obtain work permits in order to assimilate into Italian society, thus being perpetually pushed to the outskirts of Italy, diminishing in status even as their numbers grow. This film was definitely longer than the first one and had more of a traditional documentary feel to it. It left me interested in the situation even after the film was over, and I could tell the audience felt the same with the questions that were raised after the screening. Platt noted that the film is somewhat outdated as the situation has grown larger recently, so I would love to see a follow-up on it.

After that was... nothing? That's it? No more student films? Lame. I expected something like 4 or 5 quick-fire short films. Oh well.

You can check out the main page for the film festival here:


haulani7 said...

I blogged about the same event and did not include a lot of what you included. However, your blog made me feel like I was missing something. I felt a lot of what you were feeling and yet, I didn't include it. For instance, what was the deal with presenting only two student shorts?! You would think since the films were so "short," more films would be featured. Thanks for saying the things I did not!

Elisa said...

I didn't see the student short films, but it's sad that not that many people attended. I wonder if maybe there was a better way that they could have better promoted the student film section of the festival.I feel like this part of the festival should have had a lot more people in attendance, if anything just to show support for fellow students.

david silver said...

this is the kind of feedback - both in the blog post and in the comments - that can be very helpful for next year's organizers. if you, jonny, and anyone else wants to see more student film, be sure to attend the end of the year student film showcase.

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