DELAWARE, Ohio – Eight films created by Ohio Wesleyan University students enrolled in a documentary filmmaking course will be shown and discussed March 21 at the 10th Annual OWU Documentary Film Festival. The event, which is free and open to the entire community, will begin at 7 p.m. at downtown Delaware’s historic Strand Theatre, 28 E. Winter St.
All of the student-filmmakers are enrolled in Ethnographic and Documentary Film and Filmmaking, taught by Ohio Wesleyan sociology/anthropology professor Mary Howard, Ph.D., and Chuck Della Lana, director of media services.
“We think it is an extraordinary year for student productions in terms of the social issues the students have selected to examine and the skills in camera usage, interviewing, and film editing,” said Howard, whose own documentaries include “Cloud People,” a look at homelessness. “We are very proud of our 10th year.”
As part of the course, students explore film theory from the field of visual anthropology and from filmmakers’ written reflections on the processes involved in completing particular projects. Students also learn camera use and film-editing techniques. Documentaries scheduled to be screened at this year’s festival are:
- 7 p.m. – “The Land of Enchantment.” This 20-minute film is a meditation on consumerism, the systematic production of waste in the United States, and what it means to be a consumer in the western world. It is directed by Michael Cormier, a senior from Yarmouth, Maine.
- 7:30 p.m. – “A Crack in the Sky.” This 22-minute film examines Somali culture and the issues facing thousands of Somalis living in central Ohio. Professors, educators, and members of the Somali Community offer a unique perspective on these issues including misrepresentations by the media. It is directed by Ted Shipitalo, a senior from Ames, Iowa.
- 8 p.m. – “If Everyone Had a Garden.” Bob and Sue Harter have found the beauty of nature in their own back yard. By cultivating a garden, they have shaped a harmonious way of life that moves with nature and not against it. This 16-minute film is directed by Christian Sanford, a sophomore from Birmingham, Mich., and Michelle Smith, a junior from Austin, Texas.
- 8:25 p.m. – “Heartland.” This 15-minute documentary provides a visual examination of spaces real and imaginary, light and dark, old and new, and their combined reality. It is directed by Lucas McDowell, a junior from Mystic, Conn.
- 8:50 p.m. – “Deep Green Resistance.” Distressed about the loss of a valued coordinator of campus sustainability projects, Ohio Wesleyan students organize a protest to reinstate the position and to express their concerns about our environment. This 16-minute film is directed by Karli Amstadt, a senior from Cleveland, Ohio.
- 9:15 p.m. – “Death and Revival.” In 2010, two elderly patrons of St. Dominic’s Church, a small Catholic parish located in the blighted, impoverished “South Side” neighborhood of Youngstown, Ohio, were tragically murdered during two separate incidents on church property. This documentary focuses on the church pastor’s efforts to organize a citywide effort to revitalize and renew the South Side community. This 25-minute documentary is directed by Alex Cook, a sophomore from Youngstown.
- 9:45 p.m. – “Life Worth Living.” A small community of North Carolinian watermen banded together to save the last fish house on their island from shutting down. By working together with leaders in the greater community of Ocracoke Island, the watermen were able to save not only the fish house but also their livelihood. This 14-minute documentary is directed by Anna Jones, a junior from Delaware, Ohio.
- 10:05 p.m. – “Lovability.” This 20-minute film explores the complicated world of dating and relationships with several couples once challenged by disability. Frustrated with his own search for love, the filmmaker also confronts single men in gay bars about their willingness to date someone like himself who is differently abled. It is directed by Ryan Haddad, a junior from Cleveland, Ohio.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities. Ohio Wesleyan offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. OWU combines an internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that connect classroom theory with real-world practice. Located in Delaware, Ohio, OWU’s 1,850 students represent 42 states and 37 countries. The university is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.