Fourteenth in a series of articles from our visits to colleges and universities that are invited to participate in the 2018 College Film Awards.
Or Virginia Tech, for short.
We at Poe Film Festival are so delighted to welcome the Hokies to our College Film Awards in October. Last year, Tech filmmakers traveled more than three hours to our event in Richmond and entertained the Grace Theater crowd with two Official Selections that mirrored the intensity of Poe stories.
“Did You Know,” by Sophia Okorn was a dramatic documentary exploring the psychological harm of sexual abuse on college campuses – topical in these times of #MeToo and the Hollywood scandals. “Jiggle The Knob,” a narrative short by Steven Burneson, featured tension between two college roommates during an impromptu camping experience. Both films exhibited the depth of storytelling that our judges sought for awards.
Our Poe Festival caravan traveled to Blacksburg in Southwest Virginia this week to meet with Tech’s film studies professor Dr. Charles Dye. He spoke of the growing potential of his school’s film program, noting that its cinema major soon will have its own degree rather than a theater arts degree. Tech has hired accomplished faculty and upgraded its film curriculum (one-half of its courses in acting and writing, and the other half in production).
We at Poe, though, are interested primarily in story. How does Tech promote the Poe style of lean writing and growing intensity? “We push story in this school,” Dr. Dye told us, adding that its second emphasis is sound. (It’s a message we’ve heard at a number of colleges this spring — improving audio is a major goal.)
Additionally, Virginia Tech’s strengths stem from both narrative and documentary filmmaking courses. Dr. Dye noted that student documentaries are in production this spring and the school may have difficulty choosing among them for our contest. What a wonderful problem to have!
So we welcome our most distant invitee school to the mix for 2018. Bring us your “A” game. Go Hokies!