With Thanksgiving imminent in the near future, households all over America are busy stocking up on canned cranberries, green bean salad, turkeys and a plethora of other delectable foods for their Thanksgiving smorgasbord. But before you too get wrapped up preparing for the meal-to-end-all-meals, why not take a break and check out some of November's indie-film festivities?
Mosaic Film Experience Showing at Wealthy Theatre
When Skot Welch, founder of the Mosaic Film Experience, decided to tackle the task of creating a new and meaningful film festival, he immediately knew he wanted to focus on centering the event on a demographic that generally is excluded from film festivals – kids and young adults.
"When you think about film festivals, they tend to have adults at the center and kids are an afterthought, if they're thought about at all," Welch said. "We turned this over on its head, so the young people are actually the center of the concept, and the adults that are on the edges are around to coach and encourage the young people."
Shortly into Mosaic's creation, it became evident that this was going to be much more than a simple film festival where audiences sit back and watch movies. Welch wanted the festival to be more hands-on, so they began incorporating workshops and other educational tools into the event to help teach kids about storytelling and other film-related endeavors. This year, Chelsea Manifold will be flying in from New York to teach two zombie makeup workshops.
Discussions are also incorporated into the program to explore Mosaic's themes of diversity, community and history.
Welch feels by introducing film as a tool for learning, he may be able to reach kids that may otherwise be left behind in academia.
"For every kid that learns through the formulaic way of sitting down and listening to your teacher, there are other kids that learn maybe a little bit different," Welch said. "If you can put those kids in some problem-solving situations, with film being the thing that they'll use to solve problems, they will actually plow right through math and science and anthropology and all the other things in school."
Thus many of the films shown at Mosaic are student-made, and come from all over the world. This year alone, the program has received student film submissions from 31 countries. Much of the diversity and wealth of student films submitted can be attributed to the fact that while Mosaic does give cash prizes for winning entries in different categories, it does not charge an entry fee to contenders. All of the cash prizes are underwritten by sponsors. Also, the event is organized and run by volunteers in order to cut down on ticket costs.
"The goal is to take out barriers for any kid, no matter where they are in their station in life, to take out barriers leading them to not be creative," Welch said.
While most of Mosaic's films are student-made, they also show some larger scale productions. Last year's schedule included a screening of the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild, a film chosen due to its subject matter and relevance to Mosaic's themes.
"We weren't really able to describe to anybody what a Mosaic film was, so we told them, 'We'll tell you when we see it,'" Welch said. "Beasts of the Southern Wild fit that bill because it dealt with class, it dealt with the innocence of children, it dealt with a global message, a people message."
The 2013 Mosaic Film Experience takes place Nov. 1-2, with ticket prices at $8 for students and $10 for the general public.
For more information on this event, visit mosaicfilmexperience.com.
Hope College to Bring Saudi Film Wadjda to Holland
On Nov. 18-23, Hope College's Knickerbocker Theatre will present Wadjda, the first feature-length film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. Wadjda was written and directed by female filmmaker Haifaa Al-Monsour and follows the story of a young girl who enters a Koran recitation competition to help raise money for a bicycle in a community that views bicycles as a danger to a girl's virtues. The film, which has been praised for the ways in which it breaks cultural boundaries and questions societal norms, currently holds a 98 percent rating on RottenTomatoes.
For more information on this or other films playing at Knickerbocker Theatre, visit hope.edu/arts/knick.