WVU School of Art & Design hosts annual Short Film Festival

Published by the Daily Athenaeum, March 23, 2017.

WVU students have the opportunity to view creative and artistic films from all over the world this upcoming weekend,

The Electronic Media program in the WVU School of Art Design will host its annual 2017 West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival this weekend in Morgantown. More than 75 independent films and videos will be screened, including works from Iran, Italy, Brazil, Japan, Belgium, Slovakia, Israel, Australia, Czech Republic, France and the United Kingdom.

The non-profit event aims to highlight areas in contemporary culture, as well as showcase new films and animation. This year, the festival will explore the theme of “Health” by screening special works dedicated to the topic.

“We realized we’ll show this right around the time of election and how our political system seems to be in a disarray across the political spectrum,” said Gerald Habarth, the WVU Associate Professor of Art and Electronic Media. “Everyone would agree that the same would be true with our climate and our social environment when you think about the things happening socially,with the race relations between people and police forces. Not just here in our country, but globally.”

The international competition, which was established in 2010, includes submissions from the categories of narrative, documentary, animation, experimental video, virtual reality and student works from both college students and those younger than 18.

“Students will get the sense of broader, diverse independent filmmaking and video art,” Habarth said. “They’ll be exposed to a different kind of expression than what they’re accustomed to.”

All films must be 20 minutes or less, with the exception of select, out-of-competition films. No rules were placed on the content or artistic approach.

“Some of the documentaries we’ll be showing will push on the boundaries of documentaries. They’re not your same old, rehashed (films),” Habarth added. “They really blur edges on what’s documentaries and what’s artistic or what’s political.”

Found in the animation category is a work that Habarth is excited for students to see. “A number of animators from around the world used a famous Obama speech and took a creative approach.”

Habarth said submissions are very diverse this year. While some explore the body, others explore the environment.

In order to experience virtual reality submissions, viewing stations with headsets will be set up.

“A lot of the work we’ll be showing is work you’ll be unable to see anywhere else,” Habarth said. “I look forward to the interesting, new, unusual, cutting-edge, exciting approaches to filmmaking, animation and video that are featured.”

Habarth encouraged students to look forward to a specific animation that focuses on the mental health category, as well as another film on schizophrenia. Both of these will be shown on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, screenings will take place in the Metropolitan Theatre downtown. Saturday’s showtimes will be from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Creative Arts Center’s Bloch Hall, and the final showings will be from noon to 4;30 p.m. on Sunday at the Creative Arts Center’s Falbo Theatre.

Admission is free and open to the public.