VCU held the seventh annual Southern Film Festival last weekend to highlight the positive traits of the university’s southern roots.
The film festival brings together films and its makers with constructive commentary. Every year, the festival’s board of directors chooses a new theme to focus on.
This year’s topic was broad but precise: Women.
“We’ve had films in the past that have been made by women or have had strong female leads. But this year is different,” said Emilie Raymond, associate professor of history at VCU, the director and one of the founders of the festival. “All these films have women writers, women directing most of them, women as central characters… All women who are struggling with their identities in some way.”
The festival, running from Sept. 15-18, was co-sponsored by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, Virginia Historical Society and VCU Humanities Research Center.
Founded in 2010, the festival was established to explore how the distinctive traits of the South are portrayed on-screen.
Raymond said the South is always seen as “different” – but not necessarily in a constructive way.
“The South is treated differently as an exceptional region. Sometimes it’s portrayed in a positive way, sometimes it’s portrayed in a negative way,” Raymond said. “So we first started the festival to portray its positive qualities.”
Three films were scheduled for this year’s festival. “Bastard out of Carolina” (1996) and “The Life and Times of Elizabeth Keckly” (2014) were shown on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
The final film of the festival, “Christmas Wedding Baby” (2014), tells the story of a bride-to-be who discovers that her first love has been hired as her wedding photographer. The film will air on Monday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. at the Grace Street Theater.
For information on future events visit http://wp.vcu.edu/sff/.
Maura is a senior cinema and journalism student. She’s interested in combining investigative journalism with filmmaking, and is a contributing writer for the online publications Elite Daily and Literally Darling. Before transferring to VCU, Maura was an editor for the student newspaper at Virginia Tech, the Collegiate Times.
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