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Annual Gollin Film Festival showcases student films

May 5, 2015
screenshot from film features closeup of woman with flowers in her hairFrom Aches, by first place winner Brynn Wilkins, ’15, a film and media studies major from Fairport, N.Y.,

A diverse group of 14 student films were presented at the 10th annual Gollin Film Festival on Wednesday, April 29, with the top three films winning $1,200 in cash prizes. The festival, which is opened to all undergraduate students, is sponsored by the University’s Film and Media Studies Program.

“The students who make these films put a lot of work into their submissions, and we try to look for originality and creativity when we select the films to screen,” said Joanne Bernardi, associate professor of Japanese cinema and culture and interim director of the film and media studies program. “Many professors who are judging the festival don’t get to see the student-made films in classes, so this is a great chance to see a new side of our students.”

In Aches, first place winner Brynn Wilkins, ’15, a film and media studies major from Fairport, N.Y., created a dramatic and graphic film to highlight different kinds of abuse such as animal, environmental or domestic through the use of still motion.

“I was inspired to make this film through some personal events in my life, and I felt that I had strong enough feelings and understanding on the topic of abuse,” said Wilkins. “It’s exhilarating to watch this piece on a big screen and to have other people appreciate it with you.”

Daniel Hoffman, ’15, received second place accolades for his film Turning 21: Substance Is Missing, which sought to understand the rituals involved with a 21st birthday party in American culture. His film was created for the Dance on Camera/Camera on Dance course at the university, and featured a choreographed performance designed to represent lack of meaning around the festivities of reaching the life milestone.

“There were great films displayed in this year’s festival, and as a non-film maker, I’m particularly honored to be awarded,” said Hoffman, a music major and dance minor from Syracuse, N.Y. “This festival really shows the interdisciplinary aspects to all the arts at the University.”

Third place was granted to two video submissions by Molly Nemer and Javier Torres. Nemer, ’17, a double major in digital media studies and film and media studies from Mendota Heights, Minn., depicted life and music of the Z train in a New York City subway station in her film The Key of Z. In his film, Cruel Summer, Torres, ’16, a film production major from Rochester, used scenes from the film Beasts of the Jungle (1913) with modern music played over the footage.

Students were allowed to submit a maximum of two films created since enrollment at the University, which could be made using a variety of media formats and devices. The winners were determined by a panel of university professors including Bernardi, Jennifer Creech, assistant professor of German, and Evelyn Leblac-Roberge, assistant professor of art and lens based media.

The festival was established in 2005 in honor of Professor Emeritus of English Richard Gollin, who founded the film studies program at the University in 1976 with the assistance of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Gollin, who retired in 1989, authored A Viewer’s Guide to Film: Art, Artifices, and Issues, and received recognition for his research and writings on Romantic poetry and the Victorian novel. For additional information about the Gollin Film Festival visit

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Category: Student Life