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Undergraduate scholar takes on the Five College Film Festival

Flickr/Arty Smokes(deaf mute)

Erica Moulton is a director of filmmakers.

As the undergraduate student director of the Five College Film and Video Festival, Moulton oversees the film work of numerous Five College students, a job which she sees as vital to the future of film.

“The emerging filmmakers at the Five Colleges will be the next generation of filmmakers and it is important to reach out to one another now to create the ties that will make us successful in the future,” she said.

Five College Film and Video Festival will take place on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. at Mount Holyoke College in the Gamble Auditorium. Entries are limited to a maximum run time of 20 minutes. Submitted short films cover a wide spectrum of topics, including narrative storytelling, performance art and important social issues, such as disability and self-image.

Students can compete in several different categories, such as animation, documentary, experimental, dance on camera, narrative and graduate-level filmmaking.

Winners in each category are given a cash reward for their efforts, as well as a screening and press coverage with Northampton Community Television and Amherst Media.

This will mark the 19th consecutive year the festival has been held. Films have developed from stop motion animation to experimental film and documentaries.

For Moulton, working with the festival was no easy task.

As a junior at Mount Holyoke College, Moulton has endeavored to pursue  degrees in English and film, while complementing her studies by writing articles for the college’s Uloop page. Upon entering college, she was also a recipient of the prestigious 21st century scholars merit scholarship.

So, it was no surprise when Bernadine Mellis, the faculty advisor for the festival, asked her to step up to the plate and fill the role of student director.

“I was very eager to participate as I had only heard wonderful things about the festival,” Moulton said. “And I wanted to do something to get more involved with the Five Colleges.”

As the director of the festival, Moulton oversees a team of students who are responsible for managing the event.

“It has been extremely rewarding to direct the festival,” she said of the experience. “I have gotten to know students from all of the colleges and see how passionate and involved each of them are.”

Moulton’s own duties span marketing the event to job allocation for her volunteers, who filter through entrants in as they search for the best possible projects to showcase.

Beyond managing the logistics of the event, the young director also understands the power that the world of independent film has on influencing mainstream cinema. Many of today’s most prolific filmmakers got their start working on independent productions before breaking into Hollywood. It is a venue free of studio constraints in which anyone can participate.

“Independent film is a vital component to the film industry,” Moulton said. “It is the place where experimentation happens and where filmmakers are free to express themselves.”

Moulton emphasizes that attending the festival screenings is an experience all its own.

“The atmosphere at the festival is really fun and the jurors will ensure that the films selected are well-crafted, surprising and entertaining,” said Moulton. “It’s also a great event for students to come and cheer on their friends.”

Submissions are being accepted through Feb. 14 and can be sent in digitally through Vimeo, or in hardcopy. More details can be found on the festival’s website, fivecolleges.edu/film/festival.

 

Søren Hough can be reached at shhough@student.umass.edu.

 

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