Tulane Film and Arts Festival showcases student and feature films

Taylor DeMulling, Associate Arcade Editor

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Sometimes it feels like every movie on Netflix has been seen at least three times, every film in theaters is just a remake or a reboot of a movie that wasn’t even that great to begin with, and even the old standby, ABC Family’s Harry Potter Movie Marathon, has lost its sense of enchantment. But thankfully the Tulane Film and Arts Festival exists as a friendly reminder of what makes cinema so great. Spoiler alert: it isn’t big explosions, an A-list cast or Beyoncé on the soundtrack.

The second annual Tulane Film and Arts Festival spanned Feb. 11 to 13 and offered three free days of cinematic celebration.

Bringing together student-produced work, independent documentaries and feature films, the festival is a joint effort between Tulane University Broadcast Entertainment and Tulane University Campus Programming. With the mission to offer students the opportunity and equipment to produce their own work, TUBE was inspired to give students a platform for showcasing projects. While this year included fewer student films than last year, the two student short films offered impressive insight into the minds of Tulane students.

“Circunstancia,” filmed by senior Alisa Cacho-Sousa during her time studying abroad, captures the love-hate relationship of Cubans with the ocean that surrounds them, as demonstrated prominently in Cuban poetry. “Tell Me About Love,” by freshman Nate Koch, follows students outside The Boot Bar and Grill and asks them about what most Tulane students would consider a dirty word: love.

Thursday evening presented “Reversing the Mississippi,” followed by a question-and-answer session with the film’s director, Ian Midgley, and Nat Turner, one of its stars. The New Orleans-centered documentary follows an unlikely partnership between an inventor and a rebellious school teacher looking to make a difference in their community.

“The festival in general has a really big community theme this year, so a lot of our films have either themes that can relate to Tulane’s campus or the New Orleans community,” said Annie Heinrichs, creative director of TUFAF and general manager of TUBE. “I think that even if they seem a little far-fetched, everyone can relate to them.”

The following night showcased feature film “End of the Tour.” Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel, the film details the interviews between writer David Lipsky and the late novelist David Foster Wallace, based off Lipsky’s book, “Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.”

The last day kicked off with “Consequence,” directed by Tulane senior and TUBE Technology and Equipment Manager Jonathan Nguyen. Afterward, the short film “Can’t Stop the Water” played, a documentary about coastal Louisiana’s rapidly shrinking marshland and its devastating impact on the close-knit community of Isle de Jean Charles. The movie was followed by a question-and-answer session. Later, a short film showcase presented six brief yet thought-provoking pieces, two of which were produced by Tulane students. Saturday wrapped up with a showing of the film “Tangerine,” which portrays the story of a prostitute who spends her Christmas Eve seeking revenge on her pimp ex-boyfriend.

Affording the directors the opportunity to speak with viewers after watching their films provided a more thoughtful reflection, as well as the chance to elaborate on the off-screen work.

“It’s really nice being able to talk about things that happen outside of what you see onscreen,” director Ian Midgley said. “I think that especially with this movie, since I spent five years filming it, a lot of the story doesn’t end up on the screen.”

The festival’s turnout was moderate and, as a venue, the Woldenberg Art Center was a perfect fit, offering a sizable theater and the bonus opportunity to stop by the Newcomb Art Museum. The festival didn’t exhibit work from local or student artists as it did last year.

Nate Koch is a contributing writer for The Hullabaloo.