JHU Film Fest Recap

Johanna Hoch

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From Thursday, March 9, through Sunday, March 20, the Johns Hopkins Film Society held their 22nd annual film festival. The Johns Hopkins Film Festival consists of undergraduate students of cinephiles and aspiring cinematographers, the organization holds monthly 35 mm screenings and annual film series as well. The film festival took place at Shriver Hall, on the John Hopkins Campus. As my first time in this building and on the campus, this awe-inspiring architecture set a perfect feel for getting lost in fresh popcorn and incredible films. The admission cost was $5 for any films showing that day, and free for John Hopkins students. At the admissions desk I purchased a copy of WAVEWAVE, a zine published twice a semester by the JHU Film Society. The WAVEWAVE Vol. 2; Issue 2, was an edition specifically corresponding with the 2017 Film Festival. This zine portrays brief and entertaining articles, original art, interviews, collages, criticism, etc.

The festival began on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. The first showing was Killer Of Sheep (1978), on 35mm. This film portrays life in the Watts district of Los Angeles. The main character is a man working in the Watts slaughterhouse. Lingering unreleased for 30 years, the film achieved a limited release in 2007. On Friday, March 10, there was a free guest presentation and zine release at 6:30 p.m. at the screening room of the JHU/MICA Film Centre. Followed were snacks and discussions on multiple topics ranging from history of Trans representation in films, woman make-up application in films, power of silent film stars and the value of attending movie theaters. Saturday held a 35mm screening of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), a quirky coming-of-age tale about a young man and his dysfunctional family living in the small town of Endora, Iowa. The screening took place at 9:00 p.m. after the screenings of short programs between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Each program was screened both Saturday and Sunday. The shorts in these programs were selected from a submission pool of around 500 short films. They were all made in the past year or so by independent filmmakers from around the country, and the world. The 2017 Film Festival ended with a 35mm screening of Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971) on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. This film is a moving and melancholy story about a group of teenagers growing up in a dead-end Texas town.

The short films premiered both Saturday and Sunday. Each program gave a mixture of narratives, documentaries, animations and experimental pieces. Some of my favorite shorts were Panic Attack!, a hand-drawn, three minute animation from the point of view of a woman having a panic attack. “I wanted the transitions between reality and her imagined fears to be seamless, so there are no edits — it is one continually transforming drawing.” O’Meara states with her submission. As well as Ernie, a 17-minute narrative representing a man named Ernie whose suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling, leading him to form a friendship with the young boy who lives in the apartment above. Hadley Hillel, a student at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, created this short. Hadley has written and directed over 20 shorts that have been shown in 35 national and international film festivals, and has won more than twenty-five jury and audience awards and has been nominated for two student Emmys.

If you are drawn to film culture and want to experience a new film watching experience, check out http://www.jhufilmfest.com/events.html for upcoming events, or follow the JHU Film Society Facebook page.

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JHU Film Fest Recap