Columbia College Chicago Hosts Second Annual Chicago Feminist Film Festival

Columbia College Chicago Hosts Second Annual Chicago Feminist Film Festival

Free festival to showcase 57 films from 22 countries highlighting under-represented individuals and communities in the film industry
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CHICAGO (Feb. 16, 2017)—Columbia College Chicago will host the Chicago Feminist Film Festival, now in its second year, featuring 55 short films produced, directed and/or created by individuals of diverse backgrounds from around the world, including seven films from Columbia alumni and students. The festival draws attention to the need for greater diversity and representation of under-represented individuals in the film and entertainment industry. The event will be held at Columbia’s Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., in Chicago, March 1 to 3. The festival is free and open to the public.

“The Chicago Feminist Film Festival celebrates the work of under-represented filmmakers—particularly women, people of color, queer, and transgender folks—but also seeks to broaden the spectrum of stories being told about different kinds of people, given their struggle for visibility in the mainstream film industry,” said Susan Kerns, assistant professor, Cinema Art and Science. “The festival gives us the opportunity to address this under-representation and provides a dedicated platform to showcase diverse filmmaking talent.”

The festival will kick off on March 1 with a screening of the critically-acclaimed all-female-directed horror anthology XX, which includes the directorial debut of musician St. Vincent as well as a directorial contribution by Karyn Kusama (The Invitation, Girlfight). XX Director Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound) will be in attendance and available for a post-screening Q&A. The event will conclude with the Chicago premiere of the documentary Woman on Fire, which focuses on New York City’s first openly transgender fire fighter.Woman on FireDirector Julie Sokolow and the documentary’s subjects Brooke Guinan and James Baker, will also be in attendance and available for a post-screening Q&A. The full schedule is available at www.chicagofeministfilmfestival.com.

A recent study by the University of Southern California-Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism analyzed the top 100 highest-grossing films each year from 2007 to 2016. The study shows that out of these 1,000 films, only four percent were directed by women and out of 1,114 directors, only 45 were female. Of these 45 female directors, only three were black and three were Asian American. The study further noted that for every female director there are approximately 23.8 male directors.

“Studies on diversity levels in the film industry illustrate the need to encourage more opportunities for those who have been typically marginalized in this field,” said Michelle Yates, assistant professor, Humanities, History and Social Sciences. “The festival allows us to provide under-represented filmmakers the recognition they have earned. We are pleased to have Columbia’s support in our efforts.”

The Chicago Feminist Film Festival showcases independent, international film, predominantly shorts, spanning documentary, fiction, and experimental genres. This year, festival organizers received 800 films for consideration, from which 57 short films from 22 countries were selected. Among the films selected, the festival will feature films by Columbia alumni Shayna Connelly (Director) Gardening at Night, Eve Studnicka (Producer) and Catherine Woods (Production Designer) Dollface, as well as the directorial work of Columbia students Adele Franck, Spin Cycle; Youngbin Song, Umami; Dana Jacobs, I.D.; Mikaela McParlan, Game Master, and Jasmine Hart, Just Another Day.

Cover Image Credit: Vimeo

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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