NYU Showcases the Works of Student Filmmakers Worldwide
by Ali Gitlow
From October 25th through 31st, New York University (NYU) held its 6th Tisch School of the Arts International Student Film Festival (ISFF). The event successfully showed over 100 documentary, narrative, and experimental films. NYU faculty members are in charge of this event, which happens every other year.
The student shorts that competed in the festival came from universities in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, China, Croatia, Cuba, England, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan, and Turkey. In a ceremony held on October 31st, the top three films were given Jury Awards. The first-place winner of $6,000 was Cristian Nemescu, a student at The National University of Drama and Film in Romania. He received the prize for his short "C Block Story." "The Fall," by JP Valkeapää of the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, received a second-place award of $3,000. The third place prize of $2,000 went to NYU's
own Yon Motskin for "The Cutman."
The festival also awarded doc, cinematography, animated and experimental film awards. Stanford University's Melba Williams received the prize for Best Documentary and $1,000 for her film "One Thousand Words." The Best Animation winner of $1,000 was Per Sveinung Larsen from Griffith University in Australia for "Rendezvous." Jason Tolsher from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School received the Best Cinematography award for "Ash Wednesday." The prize for Best Experimental Film went to the City University of Hong Kong student Yee Man Caroline Hu for "Remembrance."
Censorship was the subject of this year's festival, and to highlight this, a discussion panel was held on October 30th. Entitled "Silenced: International Perspectives on Censorship and Resistance in Film," the panel consisted of film professionals with insight into the place of politics in art. It was moderated by Richard Pena, the Program Director for the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Head of the Selection Committee for the New York Film Festival. "Given the increasingly guarded and monitored world we live in, we feel it is particularly important to use the context of an international film festival to talk about how contemporary politics affect contemporary culture and film," said Pari Shirazi, Vice Dean of Tisch School of the Arts.
As part of the festival, the Sundance Channel screened three documentaries which were compatible with the theme. They were Kim Longinotto and Ziba Mir-Hosseini's "Divorce Iranian Style" (1998, UK), Wilfried Huismann's "Dear Fidel-- Marita's Story" (2000, Germany), and François Verster's "When the War is Over" (2002, South Africa).
Two narrative features were also shown: NYU alumnus Peter Sollett's 2002 film "Raising Victor Vargas" and Patrice Chéreau's new film "His Brother" (Son Frere).