The first Theater, Film and Media Studies (TFMS) Student Video Festival took place on April 5 at Cole Cinema. A variety of student films produced in the Media Production classes of Spring 2010 were shown. The films ranged from light-hearted and goofy, to experimental and dreamy, to serious and investigative. According to Media Production professor and assistant professor of TFMS David Ellsworth, the films were “self-selected for the showcase by the students who made the films, which means that the students who feel good about their work want to show off their hard work, but the films that maybe students didn’t feel as good about, they didn’t necessarily want to show theirs.” Senior Aaron Siegel said after the festival that it was a “good showing…it seemed like these were the students’ very best efforts.”
Many of the films focused at least tangentially on the natural beauty of the St. Mary’s campus at varying times of year, with one specifically documenting the intense snowstorms of Spring 2010 and another highlighting the calm and tranquility of the St. Mary’s River after the daily stresses and anxieties of a typical student’s day. However, in most films there were extended shots of the scenery of the path and academic buildings. Ellsworth commented that student films often are “little snapshots of the school.” Many students might recognize, for example, the conflict that the final film of the evening, “Whose Beach is it Now?” focused on two students escaping to the Historic St. Mary’s site colloquially known as ‘Daffodil Valley’, and the perhaps understandable desire to have it all to yourself all of the time.
Three films of the evening were portraits of specific TFMS faculty members, interspersing shots of the daily life of the TFMS department with interviews of the faculty about their journey into teaching. The portraits showed how TFMS classes can be much different than other academic departments, and highlighted the strengths of the faculty and the shows that the department has put on over the past year.
Another film in the documentary section focused on perceptions of marijuana use at St. Mary’s College, featuring interviews from a variety of students, administrators, and staff. Between students, and administrators there seemed to be very little agreement about how much students actually use marijuana, and furthermore, how much of that use is indeed problematic.
Ellsworth said that while he wished more students had been able to come to the event, for the first showing ever he was pleased with the turn-out and reception, and that “hopefully we can do this again next year.”