Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Campus film fest will feature thought-provoking films and discussions to engage audience members

Campus and community members will have the opportunity to view and discuss two thought-provoking films in October as part of the Fall Film Festival sponsored by the Ohio University-Chillicothe Cultural Affairs Committee.

“Candyman” will be presented from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 16 and “Cabin in the Woods” from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 30 in the Bennett Hall auditorium. Admission is free, and pizza, pop and popcorn will be provided. Both movies are rated R and may not be suitable for individuals of all ages. "Candyman" includes violence, and "Cabin in the Woods" includes horror violence, strong language and drug use.

As appropriate for the Halloween season, the films both fall under the theme of “horror” and tackle the motif in a manner that is designed to engage the audience.

“There will be a short introduction to each movie prior to the viewing as well as an opportunity for discussion afterwards,’ said Tony Vinci, Ph.D., OU-C faculty member who is facilitating the series. “Good films are never meant to be mindless entertainment, but rather stories that ask us to grapple with our everyday lives. I hope to talk through the films on a deeper level. If I do my job well, anyone who attends these events will never say ‘it is only a movie’ again.”

The film series supports the campus’ emphasis on developing a learning community that extends beyond the classroom and bridges the campus and the region it serves.

“I want students, as well as other campus and community members, to begin to interrogate stories in our popular culture that seem to express our collective fears, anxieties and desires.”

This month’s films are designed to stir intellectual discovery.

“The film ‘Candyman’ was released in 1992. To this day, it is revered as one of the smartest and scariest films of post-war America, and its themes hold up to this day,” Vinci said. “It is a story of a student wanting to write about a culture she does not understand, and, as we should it expect, it all turns out terribly! It deals with slavery’s traumatic past, the contemporary poor and race relations. Perhaps most importantly for this setting, it deals with the strange responsibilities and dangers of being a student.”

“Cabin in The Woods,” slated for Oct. 30, is also riveting material.

“It is a confused film that holds within it the history of horror films in America over the last 30 years,” Vinci said. “It asks the question of why we watch horror films. Is it because we are perverse or because we live in a strange and violent world and this is how we deal with it?  It is very quirky and strange and is also about a group of students who do not know whom they are.”

The film festival combines culture, intellectual discovery and enjoyment.

“I think this is an incredible opportunity for our students and community to engage in scholarly activity that is both intellectually stimulating and just plain fun,” OU-C faculty member and cultural affairs committee chair Debra Nickles said. “Tony is a first-rate scholar who has written numerous articles regarding the complexities of visual narratives in our culture and I am excited to be invited to share in such a conversation. It’s been my experience with students that film analysis can really open pathways of critical thinking in ways many students haven¹t experienced before. I am really geared up for this.”

Plans are for the film festivals to become biannual events, held each semester. Vinci was involved with similar endeavors in previous faculty assignments.

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