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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Two film festivals showcase span of student creativity

    Katelyn Sadler, a senior media arts major, speaks at the foto.synthesis, an interactive workshop to educate the public about various aspects of filmmaking, Friday night at Gallagher Theater.
    Katelyn Sadler, a senior media arts major, speaks at the ‘foto.synthesis,’ an interactive workshop to educate the public about various aspects of filmmaking, Friday night at Gallagher Theater.

    The Gallagher Theater’s typical lineup of second-run blockbusters and free screenings was set aside this weekend in favor of films put together closer to home. The two film festivals, foto.synthesis and Not Yet Rated, were coordinated for different reasons and by different organizations. However, the overarching goal of each was similar.

    Katelyn Sadler, a media arts senior, organized the foto.synthesis social justice film festival as her honors thesis project. “”I really didn’t want the traditional honors thesis experience, where you just sit down and write a paper,”” she said.

    Sadler is following the producing track of the media arts program. “”We do a lot of nurturing projects from their initial creation to the end product, and so it’s that combination between business and creative,”” she said. “”It was a result of me wanting to step outside of the box of the traditional honors thesis and be able to bring meaningful work and showcase student work in particular.””

    “”Traditional”” is definitely not a word that would come to mind in a description of the foto.synthesis event. In traditional film festivals, the experience is about the final product. The film has already been produced, and the audience is there to sit, watch and critique. However, Sadler called in improvisational dance troupe Movement Salon, UA music senior and trumpeter Melissa Lloyd, and Ignite Tucson’s Amanda Sapir to share their talents and insights before the reels were set rolling.

    “”Social justice is that process of being able to hear a multiplicity of voices,”” said Sadler. “”I really wanted to be able to bring that to the forefront.””

    Sadler’s goal was to avoid the passive nature of a classic film festival, and instead get the audience involved through a “”media revolution”” workshop and creative process. “”Even though we’re on the university campus, sometimes students get overlooked in actually having the ability to educate other people on campus.””

    The organizers behind the Not Yet Rated festival, which took place Friday night, also acknowledged the value of student-produced content.

    “”What we wanted to do was recognize and celebrate student filmmakers; we wanted to show our commitment and support to the up-and-coming industry professionals,”” said Adia Pickens, business senior and film festival intern for the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.

    CSIL coordinated and hosted the Not Yet Rated film festival, which was sponsored by Campus Crossings. “”(CSIL) wanted to do something different and raise the bar,”” Pickens said.

    The films of Not Yet Rated ranged widely in genre, including documentary, mockumentary, animation, drama, comedy and film noir. Of the 23 films screened, many were final films for media arts classes, although some personal pet projects were also visible. All were shorter than 15 minutes.

    “”I pre-screened every one of the films with input from the Gallagher staff,”” Pickens said. “”I pretty much tried to put myself in the audience’s place.”” Some of the more serious or politically-oriented films in the festival definitely elicited a strong reaction from the audience. “”I don’t think that they’d be tearjerkers, necessarily, but definitely enough to open up people’s eyes,”” Pickens said.

    Depending on the success of the Not Yet Rated event, it may become an annual tradition. “”This is something you can share with people, that ‘Man, you should have gone, I can’t wait for next year,'”” Pickens said.

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