By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
For Bowling Green State University film students, the Film and Media Festival is their Oscars.
Walking into Gish Theater, the trophies for best drama, comedy, documentary, experimental, and horror, and for the various crafts that go into making these – special effects, musical score, costumes, makeup, and cinematography – are lined up.
The festival is a decidedly more low key affair – and it should be noted, a tighter show, lasting less than an hour from the end of the mixer to start of the after-awards socializing.
At the Oscars, you wouldn’t have Adam Panter, who would pick up best actor award on Sunday night, hawking t-shirts at the theater on Saturday morning.
But then that’s all part of being in a creative community. That sense of camaraderie, even among ostensible competitors, was evident. They appeared in each other projects, and cheered wildly when a classmate won.
This community, though, will be losing its ‘home,” or at least the venue where so many of the films produced on campus were first screened, said Keisha Martin, president of the University Film Organization, which presented the festival with BG Reel.
Martin said that the experience of screening films in the Gish connected current students with those who came before them.
To show their appreciation the student groups honored Ralph Haven Wolfe, the professor emeritus of English, who founded the theater in 1976. Wolfe said that growing up on a farm, he always wanted to go to town because that’s where the two places he loved, the library and the movie theater, were. Those ignited the intellectual passion that led him into academia, and BGSU, first as a student and then as a professor.
Wolfe spoke about how he got Lillian Gish to come for the dedication at a time when film studies at BGSU was in its infancy.
Though he has been outspoken in his displeasure about the removal of the Gish from Hanna Hall – the theater will be relocated to the Student Union (see story http://bgindependentmedia.org/university-promises-gish-name-will-live-on-bgsu/) – he struck a philosophical note on Sunday night.
The theater and what it represents will survive in a new form, he said. Then befitting an English professor he recited poetry, a long section from William Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality,” with the lines: “We will grieve not, rather find / Strength in what remains behind.”
And like the poet, he is was now of a “philosophic mind. “
The Gish was one of the features that attracted Diana Hoffman to BGSU. Hoffman’s “No One’s Little Girl” won best of festival honors.
She was initially interested in BGSU because of the reputation of its film program, and then when she visited she was impressed by the facilities, both the new Wolfe Center for the Arts, and the vintage Gish Film Theater.
Her film is a child’s view of a divorce in progress, and stars 12-year-old Sophia Nelson, of Bowling Green,
Hoffman said she was fortunate to find Sophia, who had both the acting skills and experience in dance that the role required. And she came to the set “ready to work.”
After Hoffman graduates in May, she hopes to find a job as a film editor in New York and continue to work on projects on the side.
She hopes the festival prize will help in that effort. She’s also entering “Nobody’s Little Girl” in other film festivals.
Two scholarships were also awarded at the ceremony.
Brett Holden, coordinator of Learning Communities, presented the Gish Prize for writing on film. Holden said that the prize is only given out when a student’s work is deemed to be extraordinary. It has only been awarded eight times since 1995.
Madison Kraft was honored for her work in Sara Chambers’ script analysis class.
Kraft said she had not come to BGSU to study film. She came she said because other members of her family attended the school. But once here she loved it and has decided to major in film.
The sophomore from Olmstead Falls, said she’s “always had a real love for writing.” She’s not sure where that will lead her, though script supervision and editing are possibilities. For now, she’s looking to get an internship with the Cleveland Film Festival.
Christopher David Smith won the Edgar Fisher Daniels Prize for Excellence in Filmmaking, which was endowed by Wolfe to honor a colleague from BGSU.
Smith sometimes also goes by Christopher Martinez in the credits. It’s a way of honoring his mother, he said.
He won enough prizes at the festival for both names, including sharing credits with Panter on the best comedy winner, “Tobias.”
The junior hopes to be able to use multiple skills as an editor, colorist, and music composer “to make films that are full of diversity, in gender and race. There’s so much diversity in the world and films should show that.”
Growing up in Michigan, he came to BGSU “because I heard it was one of the few public schools with good film program. When I came to orientation, it blew me away.”
Smith said he finds inspiration in his fellow students. “It’s the people around me that keep me making films,” he said. “This is an uplifting community.”
The envelope, please…
Best Experimental – Subordinate 1028; Honorable Mention – There’s No I in Black
Best Music Video- Adore; Honorable Mention- Bloom
Best Documentary- Matt Paskiett
Best Animation- 2627
Best Narrative Horror– Affterimage
Best Narrative Comedy- Tobias
Best Narrative Drama- Prodigal Son
Best Make-up & Hair- Hellbound
Best Costume Design- Tuesday
Best Production Design- Prodigal Son; Honorable Mention- John B +The Apollo Suites
Best Sound Design- Stuck
Best Original Score- As I lay Still at Night
Best Original Screenplay – The Vault
Best Editing- Tobias
Best Cinematography- Hellbound; Honorable Mention- Damp Joint