I am a juror for the 2010 Columbus International Film and Video Festival that begins November 16th and screens mainly in the Canzani Center at the Columbus College of Art and Design. I juried for both the Social Issues and Religion categories, which means that I watched 25-30 films and recommended the ones I felt deserved attention to a superior juror. Any filmmaker can submit to the CIF+VF given that they are able to pay the entrance fee. That open call policy attracts an intriguing assortment of entries that span the absurdly DIY to the government funded. The disparate origins of the submissions makes for a filmic environment teeming with fringe interests and oddball visions - which rules. Though, honestly, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a high percentage of the submissions in mainstream theaters. After the jump is a selection of snippets I wrote about the films to give to the judges above me. At the end of each snippet I give my "rating" on the 1 to 7 scale the CIF+VF uses.
Also, see this story I wrote last year for The Lantern about Stacie Sells's experience as a juror.
Probably should be in Social Issues Category, possibly racist in a subtle way. definitely an odd film. 4 white suburbanites and we're "looking through their eyes." "I wanted to be in danger." LOL. Has an MTV real world vibe in the beginning. Lots of white kids in Jamaican rastafarian "I like Bob Marley" hats talking to the camera. Building recording studios in Africa. Okay. "Really stoked. A little scared but that's alright." First thing they do in Africa is cut their hair into mullets and laugh about it. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with religion. Technically it is an adequate film, the music is heavy handed and smarmy, mostly head shot confessional footage intermixed with narrator on top of environment shots. Awkward, awkward film with really not much going on. Indulging white guilt.
"They've got big spiders here. They're just chilling in the tree over there."
The christian boys want to save a woman's life but need $20,000 - they ask an african man at the hospital for counsel about "whether it is worth it," and of course he tells through a christian parable about "one sheep" to say, "sure."
"It was good to see Grace, like, sitting up and stuff."
This micro perspective (one life), ignoring of course that the political party most identified w/christianity is also the one most likely to cut foreign aid/pull out of U.N./hate poor people but who cares about that. Whole film makes me really confused about their intent - both stated and implied - and further, the intent of the filmmaker to the audience.
They visit Rwanda on that genocide tourism tip inspired probably by the film Hotel Rwanda which they bring up as soon as they start talking to a Rwandan.
ABSTINENCE AWARENESS TOURNAMENT OMG. GENIUS. NOT MORE BIRTH CONTROL. ABSTINENCE. THANKS FOR THE HELP.
"I really felt for those guys when grace died."
"So these camps or whatever"
"So they can form terrorist groups."