The Cleveland International Film Festival comes and goes in less than two weeks each April, but some of the magic of the 2013 event has been preserved, thanks to a partnership between the festival and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).
Tri-C communication students, staff and faculty interviewed dozens of filmmakers visiting for the 37th annual film festival, which took place April 3-14 at Tower City Cinemas in Cleveland. The collaboration between Tri-C and CIFF led to two projects: a half-hour talk show titled Cleveland Film Talk, featuring filmmakers from the festival, and a student-run video blog providing access to concise and dynamic interviews.
The first season of Cleveland Film Talk can be seen online at http://clevelandfilmtalk.org/. The show is also aired on Tri-C’s television station, Smart TV, at 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
The short, student-produced interviews can be viewed at Tri-C’s Media Arts & Studies blog, http://cccmars.wordpress.com. The blog includes work from three College departments – Media Arts & Studies, Visual Communication and Design, and Journalism and Mass Communication. With faculty guidance, students recorded four- to five-minute video interviews of filmmakers, moviegoers and production experts.
Subjects include the directors of the documentary Furever, the short Sandbox and a feature inspired by historical events in Lebanon, Valley of Tears. Filmmakers spoke about what motivated their work and the filmmaking process.
Students and Tri-C staff approached directors for interviews after their films played or in the hospitality suite – a casting call few dared refuse. In a Tower City storefront temporarily converted into a studio, students conducted the interviews, operated cameras, set up lighting and later edited the videos.
The collaborative nature of the project gave students real-world experience and deepened their understanding of the swiftly changing media world, said Cigdem Slankard, program manager for Visual Communication & Design and Media Arts Studies.
“The film students became closer to being journalists and the journalism students became closer to being media-makers,” she said.
“We basically turned the storefront into an on-location classroom,” said Jack Hagan, Tri-C coordinator of student media. “The students got a real sense of what it’s like to be in the real world of 21st-century media production.”
“For student journalists, working at CIFF was an excellent opportunity to practice entertainment journalism where Hollywood came to us,” said Bronson Peshlakai, an associate editor of The Voice, Tri-C’s student newspaper. “Working in conjunction with the RAT/MARS program was a win-win situation for all parties involved as we got to tell the stories behind what goes on in a movie production.”
In the six episodes of Cleveland Film Talk, host Simone Barros, an adjunct instructor in Media Arts, interviewed directors for an in-depth look at the at 37th Cleveland International Film Festival. Each episode features two filmmakers interviewed onApril 9 or 10 at the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts.
The show was produced by Tri-C’s Television Production/Media Services Department.
Highlights of the lineup: Joel Allen Schroder, director of the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson; Doug Dearth, the director of the feature film Underdogs, winner of the festival’s Local Heroes Competition; and We Came Home, Ariana Delawari’s documentary about her travels to Afghanistan since 9/11.
Like the video-blogging project, Cleveland Film Talk represents collaboration. The show’s set was created by Jeff Donnelly from the College’s theater department, incorporated furnishings from A Piece of Cleveland, and a sculpture from the Cleveland artist Dana Depew.
“Ultimately, we succeeded in building a bridge between CIFF and Tri-C, providing valuable opportunities for our students and by creating media products enriching our local community and culture,” Slankard said.