Meadville Tribune

Local News

April 5, 2013

Workshops, student films highlight Allegheny festival

MEADVILLE — The public is invited to attend as Allegheny College hosts the Allegheny Regional Film Festival on Saturday at the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts.

Several experts offer workshops from 3 to 6 p.m. and the film screenings begin at 7 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.

The film submissions were open to students at schools who are a part of the Great Lakes Colleges Association, a collection of 13 liberal arts colleges in the Great Lakes area. The festival features finalists from five colleges in the GLCA in five categories: animation, experimental, music video, narrative and documentary. ARFF also hosts a panel and discussion entitled “Entering the Real World: Secrets and Strategies for Production Students” starting at 3 p.m., which includes professors from the GLCA schools presenting their experiences.

Professor Rian Brown-Orso, associate professor of cinema studies at Oberlin College and recipient of the 2011 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, is one of three professors on the panel presentation. Brown-Orso has had the opportunity to share her work at film festivals and museums worldwide and hopes to encourage and support students at ARFF.

“I am always honored to be a part of an upcoming film festival or cinema collective,” Brown-Orso said. “Young, creative people making, thinking and taking charge of this new generation of films is important, and I hope to encourage and support wholeheartedly by being a part of this year’s Allegheny Regional Film Festival panel.”

Brown-Orso’s work has focused on a vast range of topics that include landscape, the body, memory and notions of nostalgia. The diversity in her work as well as her experience with other film festivals give her a specific idea of what she is looking for at ARFF.

“I tend to appreciate films that take creative risks in form, style and meaning than those that are really good at mimicking Hollywood large studio productions,” Brown-Orso said. “I hope to see some really interesting and fresh ideas in the films that are shown.”

In addition to Brown-Orso, Professor Jonathan Sherman from Kenyon College and Professor Marc Wiskemann from Denison University will also appear on the panel.

Sherman has written and directed films for the cable network Oxygen as well as other films that include the romantic comedy “I’m with Lucy” that was featured as the opening night film in the 2002 Deauville Film Festival in France.

Sherman believes that ARFF is an opportunity for students to show their work to a diverse audience.

“It will be exciting for the students to show their films in front of a diverse audience and not just their friends,” Sherman said. “I think that when you’re starting out, you don’t think about what the audience will think, or understand how your film is going to make an audience react.”

Wiskemann has worked in film production for more than 20 years and has had his work featured in more than 60 film festivals worldwide. Brown-Orso, Sherman and Wiskemann will serve as judges for each category in addition to their panel and discussion.

Starting at 5 p.m., ARFF also features a workshop with Allegheny College alumnus Alex Kropinak, an animator working with Marvel Entertainment.

“For the demonstration I will be telling everyone how I got started in the industry and talk to any students that are interested in video production, or better yet animation,” Kropinak said. “In particular, I want to explain the classes at Allegheny that can specifically help, classes that shaped my style.”

Junior Hillary Upton, communication arts major and member of Allegheny College TV, was in charge of choosing the finalists for the film festival. There will be awards for each of the specific categories as well as a “fan favorite” and a “best of show.” The audience members choose the fan favorite and the three judges choose the best of show.

“My biggest hope for the festival this year is that we have a lot of students from our school and the other schools in attendance,” Upton said. “As a planning committee, we put in so much time and effort into making the festival the best it could possibly be.”

As this is the first Allegheny Regional Film Festival, Upton as well as the film festival’s planning committee already have hopes for next year’s event.

“Next year we are thinking about expanding it so alumni from the (GLCA) schools can also submit films,” Upton said. “Hopefully next year it becomes a full weekend event rather than just a full day.”

You can go

The Allegheny Regional Film Festival is Saturday at Allegheny College’s Vukovich Center for Communication Arts. Several experts offer workshops from 3 to 6 p.m. and the film screenings begin at 7 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, email

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