While the Athena Film Festival brings high-profile film screenings and discussions to Barnard, across the street, Double Exposure, Columbia's undergraduate film journal, will be hosting its own mini-festival featuring up-and-coming filmmakers.
The event, which takes place this Saturday, Feb. 8, includes screenings of eight new, original shorts by student filmmakers, seven of whom are current Columbia undergraduates. The festival coincides with the release of the sixth issue of Double Exposure, which is to be published in print for the second time since the journal began in 2012.
“We have some original translations of a great French film critic named Serge Daney, which I think is the first time it's ever been translated, we have an interview with one of the new film curators at MoMA ... and a lot of other great articles,” said Max Nelson, CC '15 and co-editor of Double Exposure with Will Noah, CC '15. “We wanted to celebrate the release with an event that would bring together some of the folks in the Columbia film community, and some of the folks in the critical and filmmaking communities.”
The 90-minute program is set to reflect the diverse and eclectic interests of Double Exposure. The screenings include a romantic drama set at a wedding, a hip-hop music video, and “a kind of Buster Keaton-inspired, almost entirely dialogue-free, like, bittersweet, romantic, kind of slapstick, farce thing set in Paris,” Nelson said.
The filmmakers themselves are the first to admit that their work is experimental, to say the least.
“Four of my films are showing,” Bernhard Fasenfest, CC '15, said. “Three of them haven't been seen by anybody outside of my room.”
Fasenfest is resigned to the fact that his films may prove challenging to a wider, mainstream audience.
“It's a strange set. ... My series of shorts starts with the climax first and disintegrates from there,” he said. “It's an exercise in watching itself—and I'm sure it'll be a test to the endurance of some people when they watch.”
Eric Ingram, CC '14 and director of “Il Magnifico,” another short to be screened at Double Exposure, agrees that the films on show have something of a niche appeal.
“I recommend Il Magnifico' to fans of rock 'n' roll, red wine, and resurrection, and Italian speakers,” Ingram said. “I don't speak Italian, but all the actors speak Italian. ... If you want to see a film by a pentalingual, Venezuelan Marxist with a large nose, you should come to this.”
Nelson has high hopes that the festival will bring greater exposure to what he terms “a small and loose” yet “remarkable and incredibly original” community of undergraduate critics and filmmakers at Columbia. “One of our goals has been to unify these scattered groups ... and get them talking and communicating,” Nelson said.
The directors involved, however, hold no such grand ambitions. “For me, it's a nice deadline to finish wholly editing,” Ethan Edwards, CC '14, said.
“I'm kind of just interested to see what it'll look like larger,” Gus Reed, CC '14, said.
The festival begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday in Lerner 569. Alongside Edwards, Reed, Ingram, and Fasenfest, the filmmakers included in the program are Nick Lieberman, CC '16, Maria Giménez Cavallo and Thuto Durkac Somo, both CC '14, and Theo Zenou.