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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

UM Cinema Festival to Showcase Short Films This Weekend

March 27, 2015 | by Tyler Kelly, courtesy of The Daily Mississippian



Short films from different categories will be showcased at the University of Mississippi Cinema Festival at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Overby Center Auditorium. The categories include narrative, documentary, experimental and dance, and the event is expected to run for approximately an hour and a half.

Festival organizers will host a reception beforehand at 6 p.m. on Friday.

“Oxfilm, an organization that supports film makers in Oxford, is being good enough to give us a free reception with food and drinks and to support us as well,” said Alan Arrivée, assistant professor of cinema and cinema director. “They want to make more of a connection between the community and the university in filmmaking.”

“These are the works of filmmakers just starting out,” said Michelle Emanuel, head of cataloging and associate professor. “They will not be like the films at the multiplex or even the Oxford Film Festival, but showcases like the UM Cinema Festival are critical in the life of a young filmmaker because often it’s their first chance to have their work seen by more than their immediate family or circle of friends.”

Winners from the UM Cinema Competition are likely to be included in the festival, as well as standout films from student coursework.

“Basically, student work from the UM Cinema Competition, which involves students submitting screenplays and production plans as to how they would make their screenplays into a film and then the winners get funding to revise their scripts as films, so there will be a couple of those in the program.” Arrivée said.

Students aren’t the only ones whose films will be showcased.

“Matthew Graves’ short film will be in the program, and he’s a filmmaker in the Southern documentary project Southdocs,” Arrivée said. “We usually try to include the winners of the competition, standout work from classes, and some instructor or professor.”

Senior broadcast journalism and theater arts major Michael Fant was the winner in the documentary category of the UM Cinema Competition.

“The name of my documentary is the ‘Black Definition.’ I did an array of interviews with black male students discussing the racial climate in America today,” Fant said. “We talked about stereotypes, police brutality and progression.”

Another winner is Dason Pettit, a senior art history major at Ole Miss. His short film is named “Extrication.”

“The story is a film noir, which is like a thriller but carries its own specific conventions,” Pettit said. “You might call it a neo-noir.

“The story concerns a middle-aged man, Reggie, who has returned to his hometown of New Orleans looking to resolve a childhood trauma.

“The story is very dark, hence the genre ‘noir’ and has a few twists in it,” Pettit said. “My first degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Imaging Arts, so the visual side of the film was my first consideration when writing the screenplay. I wanted to produce some signature visual scenes. Hopefully, I have produced a short film that will entertain as well as offer some frightening moments for viewers.”

Other short films that will make it into the festival are still being decided.