By: Greg Van-Buskirk
The Diamond Screen Film Series debuted on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 29. Thesis films created by Master of Fine Arts Degree students in Temple’s Department of Film and Media Arts were screened to an energetic audience in the historic Temple Performing Arts Center.
For the past two decades, Temple students have been able to submit their films for screening and perhaps awards in the Diamond Screen Film Festival held in the spring semester. This year however, the Department of Film and Media Arts wants to expand the opportunity for students’ work to be seen by conducting more screenings throughout the year. So, the Diamond Screen Film Series was born and kicked off by the MFA thesis films selected to be shown.
Renée Sevier, a second year graduate student at Temple’s Film and Media Arts Program, worked with Kay Hannahan, a third year graduate student, as program directors to make these events happen.
“We want to have more times to distribute and exhibit the work that everyone has been working on,” Sevier said. “The idea for this year is to do these series that bring us together and give us more of an opportunity to show the work that is completed.”
Following light hors d’oeuvres and live music from students of the Boyer School of Music and Dance, a trailer for Christian Strevy’s “Gunner Jackson” and a sneak peek of Leslie Koren’s “Now Return Us to Normal” began the evening of cinema. Thereafter the audience enjoyed films by Alyssa Pearson, Israel Vasquez, Mickey Newman and Chad Blevins.
Alyssa Pearson’s “Pieces and Pieces” got the ball rolling for the thesis short films. Shoshanna Green gave an emotional performance as a veteran struggling through post-war trauma to readjust to family life.
Next up was “Sun Dog”, a film by Israel Vasquez in which a mother and daughter endure the emotional and psychology hardship of surviving in dust storm ridden 1930s Kansas.
For the third film, Mickey Newman took the audience on a more comedic path. In “The Thrill of Being Followed”, Jerry and Denise attempt to solve a mystery in order to locate the latter’s cell phone.
The night concluded with Chad Blevins charming coming-of-age story “Lofa Boy.” In the film, a 15-year old boy desires acceptance from his distant and distracted father.
Writer, director, and editor Mickey Newman was available to comment on the motivation and inspiration for his film “The Thrill of Being Followed.”
“I wanted to make a film that was about technology in some way, shape or form. ‘Man vs. Machine’ has always been a theme that sort of appeals to me.”
The Diamond Screen Film Series is quickly becoming the apple of the FMA Department’s eye. Associate professor and chairperson of the department Jeffrey Rush is ecstatic about the direction in which the program is going as an opportunity to Temple students.
“Once we moved to TPAC [Temple Performing Arts Center] the idea of having a more involved series came up,” Rush said. “For the graduate students, they keep track of their screenings and sort of build a portfolio, so it helps them build that.”
Could the next big name of Hollywood be right here at Temple University? Quite possibly. But one thing is certain; the Diamond Screen Film Series is a program that boosts Temple film students as well as provides the campus and community a gateway to the artful world of cinema.
The series continues on Nov. 12 with the Alumni Spotlight Event.
For more information, visit the FMA Department on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TempleUFMA?fref=ts.