By Lia Eastep
Long before Robert Redford lured hip, young celebrities to tromp through the snow-covered streets of Park City, Utah, a group of progressive educators from OSU got together and created the first ever film festival in the United States.
Fifty-eight years later, the Columbus International Film and Video Festival is gearing up for another run.
What began as a highly publicized event had become, for a time, deliberately industry-focused, which may have resulted in a lower profile around town. Current Executive Director Susan Halpern is looking to change all of that.
“When I came on board [in 2003],” she said, “I told people, these films are too good to just show to other filmmakers.”
Willing to evolve as the industry changed, the festival added “Video” to its name and now features narrative selections as well as animation.
Highlights of this year’s festival:
The Greening of Southie– Screened last month at Studio 35 as an “early bird” event, this documentary follows the construction of Boston’s first “green” residential building. The project has its challenges and skeptics, but an idealistic, young developer has to keep the project from unraveling. The film is ultimately the story of bold ideas, new environmentalists, and the future of urban America.
Dressed– An Honorable Mention selection from last year’s festival, the narrative of Dressed follows Nary Manivong, a young clothing designer of modest beginnings, from Weinland Park (the area between Victorian Village and the OSU campus) to New York as he struggles to present his collection during Fashion Week.Screening date: November 11th
The Rivals– More than just a football movie, this film is a tale of two communities – one white collar, one blue – who compete for the Maine State Championship. Off the field, the teams are revealed for the ways they see themselves and how they are taught about the game of life, pride of place, the passion of tradition, and the balance between respect and success.Screening date: November 16th
David Vs. Monsanto– After a fierce storm blew seeds from the chemical company Monsanto across Percy and Louise Schmeiser’s land, representatives filed a lawsuit against them for the illegal use of patented and genetically modified seeds… and won. This film follows the journey as the farmers fight back.Screening date: November 21st
For more information about the Columbus International Film + Video Festival (Nov.16th-21st) including a Script to Screen workshop open to the public, visit http://www.chrisawards.org