Music and movies: Rider hosts twelfth film symposium

Jay Stern (left), Ramona Floyd (center) and Alan McIntyre Smith (right) answered student questions after the showing of “The Adventures of Paul and Marian,” one of the many events part of this years film symposium.

By Joe Passero

Rider’s film and media studies program welcomed students into Sweigart Hall 115 on March 6 and 7 for the twelfth annual symposium, which was composed of 15 different events.

Cynthia Lucia, director of Rider’s film and media studies program, originally started the symposium when the film and media studies program and the cinema studies concentration in the English department were formed in the mid-2000s.

“I thought it would be a really nice idea to have a venue where students could present their work,” Lucia said.

 Last April, film and media studies and English cinema studies students elected the theme of this years symposium — film musicals through the decades. The event’s themes have varied over the years and have included gangster, horror, stage-to-screen, animation, comedy and independent films, as well as 1962 movies and New Hollywood.

Student-faculty panels were moderated by faculty members and topics such as romantic music and musical laws of attraction were discussed, and clips from major Hollywood blockbusters like “La La Land” and stage musicals like “Guys and Dolls” were shown. Disney, one of the most notorious companies for musicals, was also the topic of one of the five student-faculty discussions.

Another event featured was the faculty filmmaker event. Jay Stern, communications adjunct professor and independent filmmaker, showed his musical “The Adventures of Paul and Marian” during the event. Following the screening of the film, he invited Alan McIntyre Smith, the film’s cinematographer, and Ramona Floyd, an actress from the film, to join him in answering audience questions.

“The movie is an example of a lot of things,” Stern said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of budget you have, if you have a big imagination, you can do some fun, creative things.”

The discussion during Stern’s portion of the event revolved around what it took to produce films as an independent filmmaker. On his own, Stern did much of the fundraising himself and with colleagues. “The Adventures of Paul and Marian” was a five-year project from start to finish, and due to funding issues, was limited to just 10 days of filming.

Students also had the opportunity to show their own films and present work related to famous films and musicals, many of whom received awards or honorable mentions for their presentations.

The collaborative effort of professors not only in the film and media studies department, but also in the communications, theater and dance departments, among others, made this learning experience possible for students to enjoy, as supported by the large audience.

The turnout to the various events, Lucia said, was very pleasing.

“[The symposium] is an opportunity for students to share their work with a wider audience,” Lucia said. “It’s also about creating a vibrant film culture on campus so that we can expose a number of people to film.”

Stern added, “It’s also good for students to see movies they won’t see elsewhere and to not watch the same things they always see and to expose themselves to as many different types of movies as possible.

Next year’s symposium theme will be decided after spring break, and the thirteenth symposium will be prepared for students to enjoy and learn from next spring.

Published in the 3/13/19 edition.

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