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Andrea Pierson

MEET THE STUDENT WORKERS OF THE ATHENA CINEMA

Content written and compiled by Andrea Pierson and Sean Rickey; posted by Dustin Jenkins

FACULTY AND STUDENTS AT THE ATHENS INTERNATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO FESTIVAL

Compiled by Shahriar Shafiani; posted by Dustin Jenkins

A look at the Ohio University Film faculty and students who will be screening their work at the 2015 Athens International Film and Video Festival.

 

Tom Hayes (Assistant Professor, O.U. Film)

Two Blue Lines

Mon., Apr. 6 @ 7:30p - Guest Artist Presentation

Shot over a period of 25 years, Two Blue Lines examines the human and political situation of Palestinian people from the years prior to the creation of Israel to the present day. By primarily featuring the narratives of Israelis whose positions run counter to their country’s official policy, filmmaker Tom Hayes provides a portrait of the ongoing conflict not often depicted in mainstream media. https://vimeo.com/102777023

"It is an honor to be screened in this grand old festival. It has a history of provocative and courageous programming and is truly international in scope."


Rafal Sokolowski (Assistant Professor, O.U. Film)

Seventh Day

Sun., Apr. 5 @ 5:15p - Part of the "A New (Old) Land" Group

Seventh Day is a tragic - comedic meditation on displacement and a hilarious taxi ride that puts perspective on emigration and the idea of changing one life for another. Watch the trailer: https://vimeo.com/96223846

"Screening my film at the festival gives my students a chance to take revenge on me for my relentless criticism of their work ;))"


David Gaddis (M.F.A. Thesis Student)

David Turner

Sat., Apr. 4 @ 1:30p - Part of the "Brotherly Love" Group

An aspiring chef brings home his new girlfriend to meet his schizophrenic brother.


Cory Pratt (M.F.A. Thesis Student)

When Skies Are Grey

Thu., Apr. 9 @ 1:15p - Part of the "Family (Dys)function" Group

An Appalachian teen ekes out a living alongside his kid sister and often absent mother.


Kathy Swanson (M.F.A. Thesis Student)

The Journey of Maggie Monroe

Sat., Apr. 4 @ 9:30p - Part of the "Comedy Night" Group

A goofy, spunky, easily distracted bridesmaid takes a road trip to deliver an heirloom wedding ring to her demanding brother’s wedding and doesn’t allow quite enough time.


Iryna Zhygaliuk (M.F.A. Thesis Student)

Mother

Sun., Apr. 5 @ 1:15p - Part of the "War Stories" Group

Set in WWII Ukraine under the Nazi occupation, Mother recounts a widowed woman's struggle for survival with her two children while remaining hidden within the confines of an old barn.

"Having an Oscar-qualifying film festival in Athens is a blessing. But I think [the] moviegoer in me is even more excited about it than [the] filmmaker. I've been appreciating Ruth Bradley's impeccable taste for three years so far, and it seems like AIFVF is only getting better every year."


Priyanka Das (Second-Year M.F.A. Student)

Together

Sat., Apr. 4 @ 1:00p - Part of the "Avant Garde Constructions" Group

Together is a poetic abstract visual representation of race between two people, who hold opposite attitudes towards race, & have to go through their own set of obstructions in order to reach the finish line. Its about the journey not the destination.

"It's an amazing feeling when our films get to screen with our fellow student film makers; it's like a shared journey for all of us: We make films together, and we get to screen [them] together at this acclaimed film festival. Its an experience to remember."


Josh Hanesack (Second-Year M.F.A. Student)

Greg.

Thu., Apr. 9 @ 3:00p - Part of the "Working for a Living" Group

Greg is in a rut. He wakes up, goes to work at a miserable office, and comes home. He finds a strange leaf. He goes to a party. He wonders if his existence means anything at all.

"Last year was my first year attending the AIFVF. What I was most impressed by was the eclectic variety of short films from all over the world. This year I'm honored to have my film screened with what will undoubtedly be another great selection of shorts."


Luke Szabados (Third-Year H.T.C./B.F.A. Student)

The Rubric Timestamped

Sat. Apr. 4 @ 1:00p - Part of the "Avant Garde Constructions" Group

The film finds a group of people in mud.  They wash their hands and work.  Chaos ensues when the spigot stops pouring water.

"It is very exciting to have a short film at the Athens Film Festival, especially because the people who helped create it are able to see it in their hometown on the big screen.  The festival also provides a unique opportunity to see content by other filmmakers working in a similar genre. Come to Avant Garde Constructions, Saturday at 1PM for a good show!"


Shahriar Shafiani (First-Year M.F.A. Student)

Life Around Here

Tue., Apr. 7 @ 7:30p - Part of the "What Just Happened" Group

After happening upon a shovel, a man who lives joyously alone in a desert sees a series of mirages that change his life and his desires forever. https://vimeo.com/122196530

"Athens is truly entwined with art and culture. I think the best example of this is the Athens International Film and Video Festival. It is a tremendous honor to be a part of it."

ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARIAN, ROBERT GREENE, DISCUSSES "ACTRESS" AND LIFE AFTER FILM SCHOOL

Written by Andrea Pierson; posted by Dustin Jenkins

After a recent, special screening of his documentary, Actress, director/editor Robert Greene gave a presentation to current Ohio University Film students about his evolution from student filmmaker to award-winning documentary filmmaker. Greene received his M.F.A. from City College (New York), worked as an editor and post-production supervisor at 4th Row Films and has credits for four documentary features and a number of shorts.  He will soon be teaching at University of Missouri, directing the school's new documentary program.  

Upon receiving his degree he started editing content for Coke and American Express.  Greene emphasizes the importance of pursuing one aspect of filmmaking (in his case, editing) in order to sustain oneself while pursuing one's creative goals.  For Greene, it is making movies such as Actress that are not so much about craft but rather ideas.  Greene says the best movies are the ones that make you think and feel.  

With Actress, Greene experiments with ideas and themes commonly threaded throughout his body of work.  Greene describes Actress as “an observational portrait” that makes the audience question the line between reality and fiction.  “It raises the audience’s awareness of watching what you’re watching, while you’re watching” and thematically asks whether the audience trusts the documentary’s character, Greene explains.

The act of questioning what you’re watching (documentary versus fiction) keeps the narrative alive.  Greene says the key to editing documentaries is finding the emotion in every sequence and transition—to “grab [the audience] by the collar and switch gears.” Greene believes that every film student should make documentaries because understanding direct cinema encourages the skills necessary to tell fictional narratives. Both require that the images on screen keep moving—keep the image alive, keep the audience engaged mentally and emotionally.  Greene is still fond of the intrigue of cinema. From direct cinema, to grandiose melodrama, staging and art comes: “what are we watching?”

Greene ended by stressing that traveling to film festivals, staying focused on your ideas and taking opportunities as they come are crucial to your creative endeavors as filmmakers.  But most importantly, filmmakers must have support from people they trust, and they must be able to learn from their failures.  

Robert Greene’s Actress will show again at the Athena Cinema at 7:00p on Thu., Apr. 2.

M.A. THESIS STUDENT NATALIA KIM WINS FIRST PLACE AT RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM

M.A. THESIS STUDENT NATALIA KIM WINS FIRST PLACE AT RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM

Written by Andrea Pierson; posted by Dustin Jenkins

M.A. Thesis candidate Natalia Kim participated in the Ohio University International Student Union (ISU) Research Symposium and won first place in the Arts and Humanities section.  She introduced her research "Transnational Women Characters in Cinema." The symposium was held on Friday, February 20, 2015 as a poster session. 

The symposium was a poster exhibition and presentation of student research that are connected to international affairs and included three categories: Arts and Humanities, STEM, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Kim’s poster was based on her thesis research and engages films such as Dirt, Babel, The Illegal, Amreeka, and Dancer in the Dark.

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Kim’s thesis advisor Ofer Eliaz, Ohio University professor Katarzyna Marciniak, and ELIP Writing Lab tutor Animesh Rathore all helped prepare her for this symposium.

TOM HAYES TO PREMIER FEATURE DOCUMENTARY, TWO BLUE LINES, AT THE WEXNER CENTER

Written by Andrea Pierson; posted by Dustin Jenkins.

Two Blue Lines, a feature-length documentary directed by Film Division Professor Tom Hayes, will premiere at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, January 27th.

“The film found me,” says Hayes. The documentary was shot over a 25-year period with Hayes filming anywhere from three weeks to a couple of months at a time. The film examines the human and political situation of Palestinian people from the years prior to the creation of Israel to the present day. By primarily featuring the narratives of Israelis whose positions run counter to their country’s official policy, Hayes provides a portrait of the ongoing conflict not often depicted in the mainstream media. Two Blue Lines was filmed in Jerusalem, Southern Lebanon, Bethlehem, Jenin, and Gaza. The film is a combination of verité and interview footage with historical interludes. Hayes describes the structure as “freewheeling” and “sort of a pointillist piece.” There is no narration and the individual pieces “create an overall impression that is disturbing.” The nonlinear form explores ideas of how government policies impact lives.

Hayes’ first documentary explored the refugee camps on the Cambodian Border. What started as an innocent observation as a stranger in a neolithic, strange land turned into a need to do something meaningful after witnessing the horrors of the refugee experience. It was either become a doctor or pick up a camera. “I don’t describe myself as an artist,” says Hayes. “I see film as utilitarian…and I needed to do something meaningful to help in some capacity.”

Two Blue Lines is Hayes’ third film that examines impacted Palestinian and Israeli lives. While his first film on the topic, Native Sons: Palestinians in Exile (1985), was a “gentle film” on refugee camps in Southern Lebanon, the backlash against the film was Hayes’ eye opener and motivation to further his relationship with the topic. “If I couldn’t change it, I could make a document,” says Hayes.

The one thing he realized after his first experiences in Palestine is that he can’t look away. To show the further deterioration of the families he met in the beginning, to know them as people and humans, to have attended their weddings and family gatherings as friends, seeing their children grow up in that environment - he feels these films are “conduits for voices not heard in the United States. It is not an intellectual exercise. I am riveted to this.” Not to mention the United States’ relation to Israel that further perpetuates the conflict. His goal is to create a real discussion, and to engage and come to resolutions, essentially, in Hayes’s words, “to destroy the myth of Israel’s monolithic society.”

Hayes plans for a festival run after having the prestigious honor to premiere at the Wexner Center. He hopes that the film will be picked up by Al Jazeera, shown in synagogues and throughout the Arab world, and seen by every American.

INTERVIEW WITH PEARL GLUCK, DIRECTOR OF THE TURN OUT

INTERVIEW WITH PEARL GLUCK, DIRECTOR OF THE TURN OUT

Interview by Andrea Pierson; video edited by Shahriar Shafiani; posted by Dustin Jenkins.

Former Ohio University Film professor Pearl Gluck sat down with us to talk about the production of her feature film, The Turn Out, which she shot this past summer with the support of many OU Film students on her crew. In this interview, Gluck discusses working with OU Film students, shooting in rural Ohio, where The Turn Out will go from here, and more.