Feb 05, 2013

Columbia State Fuels Nashville Film Festival

Sponsorship Brings Opportunities for Students

Columbia State Community College co-sponsored this year's Nashville Film Festival, which took place April 16-23. The College donated fully equipped computers to run the festival's box office operations. The partnership with the Nashville Film Festival, coordinated by Columbia State's Information Technology department, also provided several students with an opportunity to network for jobs in the highly competitive field of film and media. The school's film crew technology students also produced a two-minute short film that was played for guests upon arrival.

The computer equipment was prepared by Emily Siciensky (Associate Vice President of Information Technology), Ed Wilson, and the Information Technology staff. The faculty sponsor for the partnership is Stuart Lenig, professor of English, speech and theatre, and head of the Lyceum Committee. Lenig helped students in the film and media courses volunteer to deliver equipment to the festival, and student lab monitor from IT helped to retrieve the equipment when the festival was over.

In exchange for the school's involvement, students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the festival, watch films, view panels, and have an opportunity to meet some stars. Each year several students benefit from this interaction. This year student, Trischae Dotson took her mother and watched a few films. She enjoyed the Green Hills environment, and learned about the process of making films. On another day, acting students Jake Foster and Kristen Surratt spent time at the festival, met directors, and Surratt was offered an opportunity to talk further to a director about a possible audition for a film role.

Two filmmaking and art students, Daniel Johnston and Jeffrey Dickenson also attended. They watched the film, Noble Things, and they viewed a panel with three directors. Johnston said, "We saw several great films and several panels." He was moved by the panelists saying that, "one woman lost her son, and this loss prompted her to make a film. Another film discussed a complex family life." He also mentioned that the festival was filled with films you couldn't see anywhere else. One strange entry was entitled, Make out With Violence. Johnston reported that, "it was a love story about several guys who fall in love with a zombie girl, very strange." He explained that the students had the run of the VIP tent where people could simply watch and listen to filmmakers speak to each other. Johnston said, "We also asked questions. We gained some information that would help us with our careers, like what cameras to buy or rent for making our own films."

"These things happen often at a friendly independent film festival," added Lenig. "This partnership has been great for our students."