Athens Film Fest showcases student work on screen alongside creators from around the world
The week of April 10-16 in uptown Athens featured hundreds of films from all over the globe, including the work of many Ohio University students on screen at the 50th annual Athens International Film and Video Festival.
Kat Frazier, BFA Film Student
One of these students is second-year BFA Film student Kat Frazier from Mason, Ohio. The film she submitted, entitled "Pomegranate," is a one-minute long experimental film about the overturning of Roe v. Wade and was included in the AIFVF O-Hi-O program of short films.
Frazier said that she came up with the idea over the summer and waited until the school year to start the process, which took a few weeks. The film was, in essence, an “emotional response to Roe v. Wade getting overturned and the fear that comes with that fact,” according to Frazier.
The film explored girlhood and the fear of being a woman in a country where the freedom of bodily autonomy is not guaranteed.
“It was to allow myself to just sit with the feeling of what happened and then react on camera,” she said.
The film contains imagery referencing blood, and symbolizing the emotions associated with the decision and the memories of childhood.
“When you were a young girl, you’d act like the cherry flavor of popsicles were lipstick. And now when I eat them, it just looks like blood on my teeth,” Frazier said.
Pomegranate was initially submitted as an OHIO Honors Program project, and once it received positive attention, she decided to submit it to the festival. The decision was also informed by the experience of being in the film festival class of David Colagiovanni, the festival’s director. After seeing the films that had been in the festival before, Frazier knew her movie would be a good fit.
Frazier enlisted the help of another person to assist in camera positioning, but she was in charge of all decisions, both on and off screen.
“It was me in front of the camera, me behind the camera, my voice," Frazier explained. "It was a very personal project that I did in my dorm room over a couple of weeks.”
Frazier had worked at the festival for two years in the past, with this year being the first time she submitted a film.
“Being able to get the filmmaker badge and go to the lounge and talk to other filmmakers as another creator was a very shiny experience. It was something I thought wouldn’t happen for a really long time and the fact that it happened only my second year of college kind of blew my mind,” Frazier said.
Another of Frazier’s films, "Anomaly," showed in an LA film festival, which she was unable to attend. Therefore, the experience of actually attending a festival that featured one of her films was extra special.
“This one I actually got to go see people’s reactions and see the film on the big screen which was very strange,” Frazier said.
While Frazier believes that she will always be a filmmaker at heart, she specializes in on-location sound mixing and is seeking production experiences for the summer. She also intends to work on a sound crew once graduating.
Yana Durado, MFA Film Student
Another student involved in the festival was Yana Durado, a first-year MFA film student from the Philippines. She was in charge of the social media presence for the festival, managing Instagram, Facebook and Tik-Tok accounts throughout the spring.
“I was in charge of delegating tasks to the other two social media people that I worked with and was present during events to post as much info as we could about what films were showing and things like the after parties and fun little things that happened in the lounge and at the cinema,” Durado said.
In her words, the social media team acted as a bridge between the directors/festival workers and the audience members. While Ohio University’s film program doesn’t focus on social media content production, it does equip students to meet the ever-shifting demands of this field by encouraging visual thinking, experimentation, and technical know-how.
In the future, Durado aims to become an editor and continue working on the post-production of films. This job was an excellent way for Durado to network with other creators and connect with their experiences.
“It’s nice to be in a space where we all are very like-minded and have similar views, but also different views that open your mind,” she said.