The Poe Film Festival is not currently accepting pitches or scripts other than through the contest format.

Eighth in a series of articles from our visits to colleges and universities that are invited to participate in the 2018 College Film Awards.

We secured a promise yesterday that’s exciting.

James Madison University film students, and there are about 200 of them, will submit their finest short films and documentaries to compete in Poe Film Festival’s College Film Awards on Saturday, November 3.

The gauntlet has been laid (lain?) tossed into the arena. Watch out.

We met with Dr. Gwyneth Mellinger, director of the JMU School of Media Arts and Design (SMAD), at her office in Harrison Hall on a rainy Wednesday morning. Her words were like summer sunshine to us. SMAD, she said, pushes its film students to enter competitions and gain experience networking with filmmakers outside the classroom.

Perfect, works for us.

James Madison, set in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, is less than a two-hour drive to our festival home at the Grace Street Theater in Richmond. The school’s talented film students produce short narrative films in their directing class and, recently, have upgraded their documentary production with an initiative that tracks the lives of so-called “Dreamers” in the Harrisonburg school system. Our new documentary award category hopes to attract such topical films.

Dr. Mellinger provided a tour of the SMAD film production facilities, the massive equipment room, the beautiful television studio, and state-of-the-art editing classroom. She beamed with pride at how far the film program has progressed in the past few years with solid University support and financial gifts from alumni.

That’s how dreams come true for talented film students. We welcome JMU’s finest to our College Film Awards. Go Dukes!

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