By Chris Karlesky
Aspiring filmmakers at Franklin & Marshall College will have a chance to learn about the craft from professionals—and create their own, spontaneous work—at the College’s inaugural Wide Eyed Film Festival next week.
Filmmakers Matthew Porterfield, Lauren Wolkstein and Alex Tyson will visit campus Feb. 22 and 23 to screen their work for members of the F&M community and the public. They will also deliver craft talks, designed to give students a glimpse into the creative minds of filmmakers.
“Last fall, the student film club came up with the idea of bringing up-and-coming filmmakers to campus,” said Zach Reese, video production program manager in the Department of Theatre, Dance & Film. “We tried to find filmmakers with diverse backgrounds. People who are just beginning to emerge as well-known filmmakers.”
The premiere event of the festival is the screening of Porterfield’s second feature, Putty Hill, on Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. in the Green Room Theatre. The film follows the story of a young man’s untimely death and how it unites a fractured family and their community through shared memory and loss. The film was called “an off-the radar indie breakthrough” by Salon.com, which ranked Porterfield’s work as one of 10 best movies of 2011. Porterfield, the brother of F&M President Daniel R. Porterfield, teaches screenwriting and production in the Film & Media Studies program at Johns Hopkins University.
The following evening at 8 p.m., Wolkstein and Tyson will screen a series of selected short films in the Green Room. A question-and-answer session follows each screening, in addition to a reception at the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.
Jaclyn Anderson ’12, a creative writing major, has helped to organize the festival through her involvement with the student film club. Anderson already has experience producing and editing films through a variety of outlets at F&M, including for the Office of College Communications, and looks forward to learning more about her craft.
“The most exciting part of planning Wide Eyed is getting to have personal interaction with professionals in the field I aspire to be in,” Anderson says.
In advance of the filmmakers’ arrival on campus, students will participate in the inaugural 48-Hour F&M Cell Phone Video Contest. The competition is open to all F&M students and kicks off on Friday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. in Stahr Auditorium and ends Sunday, Feb. 19, at 11:59 p.m. Over the weekend, students will produce films with their cell phones in a project designed to celebrate spontaneous and immediate filmmaking at F&M.
A screening of the winning student films will take place on Friday, Feb. 24, in the Green Room Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Porterfield, Wolkstein and Tyson will select the first, second and third-place films, in addition to others that will screen that evening.
The Wide Eyed Film Festival is sponsored by the Department of Theatre, Dance & Film, Brooks College House and the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.