Cinema Alumnae and Students Screened Films at Local Festival
By Tarah Thomas '16
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Five John Brown University alumnae and senior female students screened their narrative and documentary films as a part of the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) in May. Golden Globe nominated actress Joey Lauren Adams organized the screenings in a gallery in downtown Bentonville.
The BFF, founded by Academy Award and Golden Globe award winner Geena Davis and producer Trevor Drinkwater, promotes women and diversity in all aspects of the film industry by screening films that value this issue. The BFF partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to bring together filmmakers and influential people from all over the world to introduce films and discuss issues associated with the cause.
Originally the BFF was not showcasing local filmmakers as part of the program. When Adams, an Arkansas native, realized the festival did not feature any local filmmakers, she asked JBU alumna Angela Morse, ’14, who she had worked with on the 2014 film “Valley Inn,” to submit films from JBU that were made by or about women.
Six different JBU films were screened: "Like a Rose" directed by Morse, "Forsaken" directed by Krisha Mason, ’14, "Climb" a documentary by Chelsey Rogers, ’13, "Exes & Oh's" directed by Kaitlyn Thompson, ’15, "Eveline, Eveline" directed by Lauren Addington, ’15, and "The Show Goes On" directed by Lauren Addington and Kaitlyn Thompson.
“It was a great opportunity,” said Steve Snediker, assistant professor of visual arts, cinema, at JBU. “First, to be recognized as upcoming student filmmakers, and second that Joey Lauren Adams, who is a prominent filmmaker, actor and director, recognizes the quality of their films.”
Thompson, who has a passion for stories about women and the struggles in their lives, showed her senior project, "Exes & Oh's," that centers on a woman dealing with a break-up. Addington's film was also her senior cinema project. The two graduated this spring.
“I am encouraged by writing stories of women in the positive light,” Thompson said. "In a 2014 study, only 23 percent of females are featured as the protagonist when women represent 51 percent of the United States population."
In today’s society, film is one of the most powerful mediums for storytelling, Snediker said.
“We challenge our students that a world-class film has the potential for changing people’s view on things,” Snediker said. “Film has the ability to pose those questions about issues and say what’s right and what’s wrong.”