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Visions Film Festival
UNCW’s Lumina Theater
3/30: 8:30 a.m. – 1 a..m.
Free; must register online
301 S. College Rd. •

Just as one film festival wraps, another is there to pick up the slack. Welcome to Wilmington!
Back for its second year as a stand-alone event, the Visions Film Festival and Conference at UNCW continues the tradition it established in 2011 of producing the finest student filmmakers and film studies research to North Carolina. Planned, organized and run by undergraduate students, Visions brings scholarly talks and films from up-and-coming filmmakers from around the globe together in one forum at Lumina Theater in UNCW’s Fisher Student Center.

“It’s the only international film festival of exclusive undergraduate work that we know of, [which] combines conference blocks [and] film scholarship presentations on top of it,” Jonathan Gedney, public relations director of Visions, says. “We think [these aspects] are just as important as the films.”

For festival organizers, it’s a six-month process: gathering all the films and doing the academic research for the spring event. At the start of UNCW’s fall semester, the team puts out an open call for submissions; Visions accepts all films as long they are or were produced while the filmmaker was an undergraduate. The film must also be 30 minutes in length.

In its very beginning, Visions started as a directed independent study course at UNCW, spearheaded by Shannon Silva, assistant professor of film studies. Silva originally intended to design a course that allowed students to plan their own annual festival, but the idea grew into a full-fledged event in itself. Once the course was approved by UNCW, Visions was born and went on to premiere as a program during the opening day of the Cucalorus Film Festival held in November. As of last year, the event has gained enough of a following to become its own film fest.

The 2012 lineup includes a broad selection of narrative, animation, documentary and experimental undergraduate films from around the world. The one-day festival features two separate screening blocks: the first from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and the second (suited for mature audiences) from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Most of the film scholars and filmmakers whose work is featured will be in attendance at the festival, participating in discussions, panels and workshops throughout the day.

The two screening blocks will be punctuated by two conferences, a keynote address, a “film-race” and an after party. This year’s keynote address will be given by filmmaker Javi Zubizarreta, writer and director of “Zuretzako.” The 2010 recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation’s Undergraduate Scholarship Cary Grant Award, a screening of “Zuretzako” will take place after Zubizarreta’s talk. The film tells the story of Zubizarreta’s grandfather, a Basque immigrant working as a sheepherder in Idaho and the sacrifices he had to experience throughout his life.

After the second block of conferences, the “film race” will begin. This is the first year Visions will present its “1 Hour/1 Take” race, in which registered crews have exactly one hour to create a minute-long video using only one continuous shot. In this contest, four-to-five-person groups have the opportunity to collaborate with other filmmakers, and are allowed as many takes as they can fit into the allotted hour.

“We supply the cameras and everything, but they’re not allowed to edit anything,” Gedney says. “It’s our way to involve the community with Visions, and get everyone in the festival talking with one another.”

After the hour is up, the one-minute films will be screened and an Audience’s Choice Award will be announced during the after party at the Calico Room (107 S. Front St.). In addition to creating a spontaneous and instantaneous mini-film festival, the primary goal of the race is to get aspiring filmmakers to mix, mingle and connect. Gedney teases about another motivator. “The winners get a really cool prize this year,” he adds. “But I don’t think I’m allowed to say what it is.”

The after party will be catered and open exclusively to those who attend the festival.


(For a full list of films and conferences, visit:

8:30-9 a.m.:
Registration and Welcome Breakfast.

9-10:30 a.m.:
Keynote Address (with Javi Zubizarreta)

10:30 a.m.-noon.:
Conference Block One

1-3 p.m.:
Film Block One

3-4:30 p.m.:
Conference Block Two

4:30-6:45 p.m.:
1 Hour/1 Take
Video Race

8-8:30 p.m.:
Coffee & Dessert Reception

8:30-10:30 p.m.:
Film Block Two

10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.:
After Party
The Calico Room,
107 S. Front Street

“My Name is Khan, and I am Not a Hindu: How My Name is Khan Defies Muslim Stereotypes in Popular Hindi Cinema” by Olivia Simmons (UNCW)

“Touki Bouki: Djibril Diop Mambety and the Postcolonial Aesthetic” by Michael Daye (University College Falmouth, United Kingdom)

“War and Poetry: The Use of Genre Violence and Poetic Digression in The Thin Red Line” by Jacob Mertens (UNCW)

“The Repressed Tension in Haute Tension” by Zulma Y. Terrones (University of Chicago)

“Robert Siodmak—His Career and Contributions to Film Noir” by Gregory Baker (North Carolina School of the Arts)

“Bruce Conner Knows That Girls Just Want to Have Fun: Humanist Sexual Liberation in Avant Garde Film” by William Frasca (UNCW)

“Action Stars Who Don’t Get Any Action: Hong Kong Actors in U.S. Roles” by Javi Zubizarreta (University of Notre Dame)

“A Sadomasochistic Circus: Critique of Society in Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves (1996) and Dancer in the Dark (2000)” by Sonya Mladenova (Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, Montreal)

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