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An audience of well over 200 people – mostly students giving up precious studying time during finals week – turned out Monday night to watch about two hours of documentary films produced by Lafayette students on themes related to “The Lafayette Experience.”

A number of viewers sat on steps and on the floor of the packed Oechsle Hall auditorium. The 11 films were met with enthusiastic applause and, in the case of satires and light moments in other films, frequent laughter.

The filmmakers are in the Documentary Film class taught by Andrew Smith, assistant professor of English and chair of American studies. A reception and awards presentation followed the screening.

“Searching for Irene,” a satirical look at the character Irene Noodleman, a supposed part-time Lafayette reference and genealogy librarian whose DVD “picks” are posted on the Skillman Library web site, took both the Audience Award and the Jury Prize. The film was created by American studies major Kelly Barrows ’06 (Clarks Green, Pa.) and English major Tyler Cohn ’06 (Wantagh, N.Y.).

“To Bite the Hand that Feeds,” a study of janitorial and dining services employees at the Farinon Center and the need to show them more respect, received the Filmmakers’ Award and was runner-up for the Audience Award. Michael Pancione ’05 (Dresher, Pa.), a double major in economics & business and English, and Jakub Pritz ’05(Holmes, Pa.), a physics major, directed the film.

“Dangerous Grounds,” a satirical sampling of opinions on whether campus squirrels are a menace or benefit, including anecdotes about the rodents’ supposed attacks on humans and what should be done to stop them, was runner-up for the Jury Prize. Mechanical engineering major Kaydence Cowley ’07 (Littleton, Co.) directed the film.

“A Different Lafayette Experience,” which examines the divide between international and American students at Lafayette, was runner-up for the Filmmakers’ Award. Computer science major Konstantinos Bousmalis ’05 (Thessanoliki, Greece) made the documentary.

The other films:

  • “Greek Life,” about fraternities and sororities at Lafayette and whether they are supported by the administration, by English major Ardin Marchetta ’06 (Califon, N.J.) and Trustee Scholar Molly McDonald ’06, a double major in English and history;
  • “Behind the Fourth Wall,” about College Theater’s recent production of You Can’t Take it With You, by Greg Herchenroether ’06 (Pittsburgh, Pa.), a double major in English and art;
  • “Fog of Man,” about the state of recycling at Lafayette and worldwide environmental crisis, by Josie Dykstra ’05 (Doylestown, Pa.), a double major in English and government & law;
  • “A Glimpse into the Rivalry: Lafayette vs. Lehigh,” about the sports and overall rivalry between the two institutions, by Amanda Bodkin ’07 (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), a double major in American studies and history, and Kristi Ruch ’07 (Media, Pa.), an English major;
  • “Substance and Style,” about the architecture of campus buildings, featuring interviews with Robert Saltonstall Mattison, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art History and head of art, and Daniel Weiss, who will become the College’s 16th president in July, by government and law major John Stephenson ’05 (Kintnersville, Pa.);
  • “Diversity,” about the state of diversity at Lafayette, by art major Davita Crawford ’05(West Orange, N.J.);
  • “Farinon 9/11,” about student attitudes toward the military, by Drew Comins ’07 (Woodstock, Vt.), an economics and business major, and Tripp Williams ’06 (Bellevue, Wash.), a government and law major.

A two-DVD set of the films will be available at Skillman Library.

John O’Keefe, manager of instructional technology, taught the students the FinalCut Pro program and worked with them on the filming and editing portion of the class. E.J. Hudock, instructional technology facilties coordinator, also assisted.

The class covers documentary history and form, and the students were prepared to make their films by seeing, discussing, and reading and writing about documentaries. Conversely, making their own movies helped them understand documentary films better.

The expansion and renovation of Skillman Library included additions of equipment and space that significantly enhanced the available resources for filmmaking, notes Smith.

Categorized in: Academic News