International Film Festival opens at BGSU

From BGSU Program of International Studies

For the next five Thursdays (April 4, 11, 18 , 25 and May 2), BGSU’s Program of International Studies is once again launching its annual International Film Festival. All screenings are at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Theater in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union

The event is free and open to the public, and we are particularly pleased that the film festival connects to the World Languages & Cultures Conference on “Austria in Europe: Migration, Immigration, Integration: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives,” which will be bringing colleagues from the Universität Salzburg and national scholars in the field to Bowling Green (April 11-14).

The conference continues the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the agreement that has allowed BGSU students to study abroad at the Universität Salzburg; the celebration began this past summer in Salzburg and brought together around 80 alumni. (Please contact Dr. Christina Guenther ( for more information about the ASA conference.)

The International Film Festival also connects to the annual Pallister French-Canadian Lecture Series made possible through the late Professor of French, Jan Pallister. This year’s Pallister speaker is Québécois film director Frédérick Pelletier who will be on hand to discuss his film, Diego Star (please see the attached flyer for more information). 

This year’s theme of the International Film Festival is “Undoing the Single Story.” The title refers to Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie’s well known TED talk about the “Danger of the Single Story”—where the complex richness of other individuals and cultures is reduced to the shorthand of a single story. She adds, “So that is how to create a single story—show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become. […] The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story, and to start with, ‘secondly’ … If, for instance, the story of the Boston Tea Party starts with the harbor scene where American patriots cast British tea into the Atlantic, the meaning of that story changes quite a bit.

One way to move beyond the Single Story is to listen to stories told by film directors from around the world. Our film festival will begin with famous Turkish-German Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven, followed by two Austrian films.

The second film, Down There [Unten}, to be screened on Friday, April 12, will be introduced by the film director himself, Djodje Cenic.

On April 18, we have included Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako, and the following week will bring Frédérick Pelletier to Bowling Green with his film, Diego Star.

The International Film Festival will end with Five Broken Cameras, a documentary put together by two film directors, one from Palestine, the other from Israel. 

Each of the films will be introduced by a BGSU faculty member who will also linger after the film for an informal discussion with the audience. There will be a reception, open to the public, following the Pallister film on April 25th. All films will be shown with subtitles and will be screened in the theatre located in BGSU’s Bowen-Thompson Student Union 206.

This event would not have been possible without the generous support of BGSU’s College of Arts & Sciences, the Departments of Theatre and Film and World Languages and Cultures, the School of Critical and Cultural Studies, and the Program of Africana Studies.