Kendall Hutchison, For The Miami Student

Art and empathy is the theme of the upcoming student-sponsored film festival at Miami University hosted by junior Leah Powers, with help from the Miami Association of Film Makers and Independent Artists (MAFIA).

The festival will feature a variety of original films submitted by students, which must abide by the theme and be under 10 minutes long. It will take place 11 a.m. April 27, in Williams Hall, and is expected to last around three hours, according to Powers. Powers, a painting major and interactive media studies minor, said she was inspired to host the festival after she received the Gilman International Scholarship, which allowed her to study abroad and required a follow-up project. The festival fulfilled this requirement.

She said she had never been to a film festival at Miami and saw an opportunity to start one in order to fulfill the final requirements of her scholarship program. Powers began looking into starting the festival earlier this year, but said she did not think she was prepared to put one together until now.

Senior Kayla Gholson said she finds the idea of a film festival appealing.

“I think that it’s a really cool idea because we don’t see very many events like this here at Miami, and it will be positive for our community,” Gholson said. Powers further discussed her motivation behind the film festival.

“I wanted other students to be more exposed to public works of art and to feel more comfortable expressing their own works,” Powers said.

According to Powers, the theme for the festival will give students common ground on which to share their films. For some, this will be their first film-making experience where they gather with others who have similar interests.

Powers herself will have one of her own films featured in the festival. The short film titled “Give Me Life,” will be shown alongside about ten other films. Her animated film is in black and white, but eventually turns to color as she presents a girl who wishes to stray away from the norms of society. Powers said the festival-goers will receive pamphlets that introduce the productions by giving a short synopsis of each film and a profile of the directors. Refreshments will be included following the films, as guests are invited to stay and discuss the films after viewing them, according to Powers.

Junior Elizabeth Moore, a social justice studies major, said she is interested in attending the event with friends.

“A film festival would be cool because I’ve never been to one and the theme is interesting,” Moore said.

Powers said she hopes the festival will bring together the student body in a creative environment where they can enjoy films and meet new people.