Global Film Festival launches with theme “Film and Youth”

Excitement prevailed as hot dogs, s’mores and cups of hot apple cider were passed from student to professor to Williamsburg community member last Saturday evening at the Kimball Theatre for the launch of the College of William and Mary’s 2013 Global Film Festival.

The night started with a 5 p.m. showing of “The Hollywood Complex,” followed by a question and answer session with director Dan Sturman. This documentary depicted the lives of children and their parents who move to the Oakwood Apartments in Hollywood during “pilot season,” where they attend audition after audition in the hopes of becoming the next Dakota Fanning or Hilary Duff, who lived at Oakwood herself before gaining worldwide fame.

The question of youth and their involvement in the cinema was a prominent one: the theme of the 2013 Global Film Festival is “Film and Youth.”

Casting directors sometimes go through 2,000 videos of children singing and dancing before calling in 100 children to audition for a single role.

“It was a really interesting perspective on sort of the relationship that we have with reality,” Megan Berke ’13 said. “Watching the film really made me think about what these kids go through. I think it really is cutthroat. I don’t like seeing the kids having to grow up and mature so quickly.”

Two children who have matured recently are “Moonrise Kingdom” stars Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, the 13- and 14-year-old youths who play Sam and Suzy in Wes Anderson’s latest film. “Moonrise Kingdom” follows the young lovers and their escape from their families and the Khaki Scout troop to their camp along an island wilderness.

Moonrise Kingdom” was shown at the Kimball following a campfire-themed reception.

“This is a movie that everyone wanted to see and has heard about but hadn’t seen it,” AMP Film Committee chair Kyle Stark ’13 said.

Following the film, Gilman and Hayward answered questions from the audience via Skype. Both cited patience and attention to details as something they learned from working with Anderson.

“Because [Anderson] is so detailed with everything, it helped us transport from the real world into the world of ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’” Gilman said.

Gilman has been acting since kindergarten and is a self-described movie buff. “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “The Matrix” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” are among his favorite movies.

Hayward attended a summer acting camp and enjoyed it so much that she went back the next year. Her first professional audition was the open call for “Moonrise Kingdom.”

For Gilman and Hayward, acting is more than just a paycheck.

“They want to be in the realm of film for really good reasons,” Film Festival intern Gaby Wildseuer ’15 said. “Jared loves to make film and use his creativity and Kara is obviously a brilliant person and likes to express her creativity through acting. I think they do that for the best reasons. It doesn’t seem like they want to do this to get money, they seem to really enjoy it. For someone to be so young and find something that they love so much, I think that’s really admirable.”

This is the Global Film Festival’s sixth year in existence. Each year, the festival committee looks for a theme that is broad enough to allow for a wide selection of programs.

“We’re always looking for something that can be interpreted in several different ways,” festival director and professor of American studies Tim Barnard Ph.D. ’04 said. “There are lots of ways to think about what it means to be young and how the experience of youth gets translated to cinema. There are lots of films about growing up and coming of age. We’re also working to include what a film is like that is made by youth.”

The events of this weekend were a preview of the main three-day festival, which will take place in February.

“The Global Film Festival in particular is, in my estimation, one of the best entertainment venues in Williamsburg,” Victor Rosello, a Williamsburg resident, said.  “This will be my fourth film festival. I’ve never missed them, ever since I saw the first one. It’s just a great opportunity for the community as well as the faculty and students at William and Mary to see international movies and movies that are highly acclaimed in a virtually free venue. Plus it is a good opportunity for both communities to meet and connect and socialize.”

The festival is hosted by students in a film studies class, who not only work at the event, but determine what films are shown and how many people they would like at the festival.

“Seeing the Kimball almost to capacity, I am almost crying,” Wildseur said. To see people come out and support us, to see them mingling and meeting other people who also like film just brings me a lot of joy.”


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