Mason Celebrates with Film Festival

Posted: October 3, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

If you love films, especially documentary films, you’ll love the Mason Film Festival, presented by the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Oct. 19-21 at the Johnson Center Cinema on the Fairfax Campus.

The festival will bring together Mason students and faculty and the Mason and Northern Virginia communities to showcase and celebrate this year’s launch of the BA in Film and Video Studies (FAVS) program, the only one of its kind at a Virginia public university.

Bonnie Matheson, the president of Mason’s Friends of Film board, believes that “as many people as possible should learn to use film as a method of communication for the 21st century.” She hopes the festival and the FAVS program will help put the spotlight on Virginia as a great location for filmmaking.

The primary focus of the FAVS program is documentary filmmaking, and the 2007 festival features numerous documentaries. Among the offerings are

  • “Operation Homecoming,” a unique documentary from WETA/PBS that explores the firsthand accounts of American service men and women
  • “War/Dance ” by 2007 Sundance best director Sean Fine, which chronicles the journey of three children living in a Ugandan displacement camp as they compete in their country’s national musical and dance festival
  • “Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea,” a hilarious and sad tale from 2003 of an eccentric community living on the shores of the Salton Sea, “America’s worst ecological disaster”
  • The 1980 film, “Little Darlings,” by Rappahannock County film director Ron Maxwell, who helped launch 2006’s inaugural festival
  • Films created by Mason students and by Fairfax County Public School students

“Film and video are becoming the new pencil and paper, and as such, they are beginning to permeate every area of academic, cultural, social and artistic life,” says CVPA Dean William Reeder.

With the help of Maxwell and others, the Friends of Film hosted the Piedmont Filmmakers Festival in Warrenton, Va., last year as a way to assemble the diverse group of filmmakers living in that rural area in Virginia.

“The purpose of the festival is to engage the professional artists and the community with faculty and students, and this trilogy is the arts at Mason model,” Reeder says.

Day Passes for the film festival are $15; $10 for students and seniors; weekend passes are $30; $20 for students and seniors (buy two days, get one free). The Center for the Arts Box Office will sell day and weekend passes in advance, and tickets for individual screenings will be sold at the door.

Click here for more information about the FAVS program.

Write to at