By Caitlin Falco
The newly renovated Campus Theatre is “a unique learning environment for everybody who loves the films from yesterday and today,” said Diego Chiri ’12, a film/media studies major. It is a place “to appreciate film as an art form.” And with the presentation of over 20 films spanning several decades during The 70th Anniversary Film Festival, the Campus Theatre has certainly flourished in these ideals. But the wide spectrum of movies is only one part of this festival’s undeniable appeal. Culminating with an impressive lineup of special events and guests, the festival marks its end with a weekend nothing short of extraordinary.
One such special guest is Nina Paley, animator and filmmaker, who will introduce her film, “Sita Sings the Blues,” tomorrow. Demonstrating an innovative mixture of the 1920s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw as well as animated depictions of the Indian epic “The Ramayana,” “Sita Sings the Blues” was produced entirely on her home computer and has won over a dozen major film festival awards. Because no major commercial studio would distribute her film, Paley began to self-distribute, utilizing what Eric Faden, festival co-coordinator and associate professor of English and film/media studies, deems “a fan-centric method for publicizing her films.”
On Sunday, Oct. 23 at 3 p.m., the festival will showcase John Ford’s 1927 silent film, “Upstream.” Lost for decades, this film was just rediscovered in 2009 and was restored by The National Film Preservation Board; Hollywood composer Michael Mortilla and violinist Nicole Garcia will perform live music along with the show, allowing attendees the unique opportunity to “see—and hear—a silent film in its original context,” Faden says.
On Sunday, there will be a special 7 p.m. showing of “Hollywood Home Movies,” personal home movies of famous Hollywood stars and directors that have been stored in the Academy archive. Seeing legendary artists like Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Crawford and Cary Grant without the glare of Hollywood’s spotlight is an exceptional opportunity, made even more so by the fact that this collection will be presented by Randy Haberkamp from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
For Eric Faden, these special guests are fundamental to the festival experience. “What makes a festival special is not only seeing the films but also meeting the people behind the film’s creation, because understanding the context and the story of the production process allows you to understand and appreciate the film on a whole different level,” he said.
The 70th Anniversary Film Festival has marked the reopening of the Campus Theatre in a memorable way. With its promotion of film culture, appreciation of filmmaking and celebration of the simple film experience, the festival has become a powerful reminder of all the reasons people love movies in the first place.
For more information, please visit the festival’s website: www.bucknell.edu/filmfest.