Crossroads Film Festival Experience

crossroads_film_festivalSocial Media + Your Film = Honoring the Platform
Malco Grandview
Saturday, April 8, 2017, 11 p.m.

Melanie Addington, executive director of the Oxford Film Festival, discussed the basics of managing a social media platform and utilizing each platform to garner the most success. I found this interesting because I have been a social media manager for the past 3 years for various companies and publications. Although a lot of what I learned was on the job, it was interesting to get an expert’s take on it. She mainly focused on sharing films through pages or social media accounts dedicated to that film or film company, but I found the tips to be useful as things to do when managing any social media account. Also, she constantly brought up the algorithm which is something we studied extensively in Senior Seminar last semester so I thought that was pretty cool.

Girls Just Wanna Make Films
Malco Grandview
Saturday, April 8th, 1 p.m.

I admit I was a little intimidated at first, but I would say that half of the films seems doable to me. Not all of them had perfect lighting or sound, but they had compelling stories which related to our first class where we learned that the trick to film making is telling a great story. “Dead Color,” the first short, was probably one of my favorites. I believe it was a student film, but the story well well executed and the music really made the scenes suspenseful until the end. Overall, this was useful to see how others created stories with such a limited time frame over different mediums.

I really enjoyed the festival. I got to chat with some guys who own a film company called Eccentric and they talked to me and a Mississippi College student about their work and what they do. They invited her to set and would let her be an extra though. I also got a chance to share my work and talk about my documentary on interracial dating with them. Also, I met Victoria Greene who shared with us her next project and asked for our opinions on her social media campaign for her next film. She claimed if I didn’t like her on Facebook she would haunt me down, and I haven’t liked her on Facebook yet…


The IF Project

The If Project
Southern Circuit
Millsaps College
April 5, 2017 7:00 pm

The IF Project documents the collaborative project between Detective Kim Bogucki and the incarcerated women in Washington’s Correction Center for Women. The film followed four main women as they attempt the answer the question posed by Det. Bogucki: If there was something someone could have said or done that would have changed the path that led you here, what would it have been?

The film follows the incarcerated women and Det. Kim as they attempt to answer this questions. There are several situations of women who are serving their time and are release and their journey after that. There are clips of women sharing their experiences and the loss of humanity and identity within the prison system. Some women confess that they were not good people before they went to prison and are now on a path to redemption. One women admitted that she still feels guilty years after killing a woman and ending her chance to redeem herself. Through these stories, we get a glimpse into the lives of convicts.

Kathlyn Horan, the director of The IF Project, does an excellent job of capturing the raw emotion and humanity of the people who society has deemed monsters. Within the first minutes, I was emotional seeing the regret and guilt that many women openly shared and their hope for a second chance. Hearing their stories and their desire to break the cycle makes you realize the full humanity of criminals. Although we often outcast those who have killed others or see them as unredeemable, Horan and Bogucki attempt to change that and the system that allows this cycle to continue.

After the film, Bogucki suggested that this movie along with The 13th be shown to all police officers to “put a human face onto someone who has been incarcerated.” I agree with her. In addition to that, I think that this film should be shown to everyone. Although Orange is the New Black was a major breakthrough for seeing not only women, but women of color, and prisoners on the screen, it is still entertainment. It does not seek to share the reality of real female prisoners, it is meant to draw in viewers and entertain us. This would be a great contrast in that we do see those women suffering because of systemic issues and hopefully, it will call us all to help.

More Documentary Ideas

I’m currently in Greensboro and I have filmed some stuff, but I’m using it more as a personal thing or a backup if my idea doesn’t work.

My goal for my documentary is to document interracial relationships in the South. It will primarily include interviews as well as some footage of couples together. The reason I want to document this is that, in my experience, interracial relationships have had a ton of pushback. I want to document those in interracial relationships and share their experience, because it could be really different than mine. I will maybe follow them on a date or as they hang out. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.

Documentary Ideas

Right now, I’m kicking myself because I’ve been to New Orleans this week, and today’s my last day in the Delta and I could have done a documentary on both of these. My idea that I just came up with was to record the sights and sounds of the place to try to not only document the area but also the feel and complexity of the area. I first thought about this as I went from the French Quarter (which was the only part of New Orleans I’ve ever been to) to Uptown New Orleans which was a completely new and different New Orleans to me. I captured some great film, but it’s not enough to film a documentary.

Instead I’m going to document my trip to Greensboro, North Carolina. This trip is significant to me because it’s my first trip where I’m traveling alone to a new place and I’ll know no one. So it’s my first “adult adult” trip. Also, I’ll be traveling by plane which I’ve never done before and I’m really nervous (and slightly embarrassed) about it. I’ll try to do a entry and exit interview to see the before and after of my trip. How do I feel at the present moment and why? I’ll also try my best to film me on the plane and record how  I’m feeling throughout the flight but I left my tripod at home so I may need to buy another. Also when I touch base in Greensboro, I’ll film me in the hotel and me at my conference. My biggest concern is how I will shoot video of me because I won’t have anyone with me. But we’ll see what happens and what I’ll do.

Focus on the Breath: An Experimental Self-Portrait

For my next assignment, I’m thinking of using a meditation for the basis of the film. Meditation helps me stay in the present moment and focus on what’s in front of me – which is a big problem I have because I constantly focus on the future and the future gives me anxiety. So my way to combat that is to meditate and breathe and remind myself to focus on the present. This practice has translated over to other activities such as yoga or cardio exercise. Breathing also helps when I’m feeling especially anxious about something as I remind myself that I am alive and I am breathing and it helps me feel grounded and okay.

Mind/Game: Film Review

indexMind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw (2015)
Southern Circuit
Millsaps College
February 8, 2017 7:00 pm

Mind/Game follows the life of Chamique Holdsclaw – a basketball player dubbed the “female Michael Jordan” – through her public and private battles with mental health. It tells of her childhood and her mentally ill parents who battled schizophrenia and alcoholism. From there, Chamique lived with her grandmother who emphasized the importance of education. To cope with the absence of her parents, Chamique battled it out on the court, using basketball as a form of therapy.

By her senior year, Chamique made a name for herself as one of the top high school athletes. Although she received many offers from different college, Chamique and her grandma decided that she should attend the University of Tennessee, a school known for its 100% graduation rate for basketball players.

Chamique reached a larger audience on the college court, but in her private life, she continued to cope with the loss of family members including her grandma. Although she tried to talk to a therapist, she decided that basketball was her best medicine and continued to use basketball as a coping mechanism.

Chamique continued to practice these habits well into her WNBA career. Eventually, her grief caught up with her as she attempted suicide to deal with the stress that she repressed. Although initially she was ashamed, she used this moment to speak out about mental health issues and to address the stigma associated with it in the black community.

Chamique continued to struggle with her illness leading her to leave the WNBA to focus on her mental health and her advocacy work. Although she managed to keep her mental health under control, she eventually experienced an episode that left her hurt: mentally, emotionally, and financially. Here, she received a new diagnosis, and today she continues to advocate for mental health, teaching children how to express their feelings and that it’s okay to feel.

Rick Goldsmith, the filmmaker, focuses on universal issues through personal stories. In Mind/Game he perfectly nails the Holdsclaw story while still telling the struggle of those dealing with mental health as well as the stigma associated with mental health in the black community. His documentary style includes using a lot of visuals and personal accounts to tell the story. He refrained from using copious amounts of music and allowed the people to tell their version of the stories without music persuading us about how to feel. He used news clippings, sports film, and news story to tell the life and story of Chamique Holdsclaw. Goldsmith’s approach to a documentary seems very “hands-off.” He provides the story and the personal accounts for the viewer without adding how we should act or feel, letting the characters speak for themselves.

I think this is a relevant movie for everyone as anyone could be dealing with mental health issues. This movie would be of great importance to the members of black community especially those who are unaware or are in disbelief concerning the mental health issues faced by those within the community.