Students, faculty, staff and community members packed the lecture hall at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria Campus during the 2018 NOVA Student Film Festival (NSFF) on April 26. The festival – in its fifth year – highlights short films created by students and allows them to use the skills they’ve learned about making and exhibiting films to inspire the public.
The NOVA Student Film Festival is a non-competitive showcase of short films open to all NOVA students from all fields of study. Since 2014, the festival has offered students an opportunity to exhibit their work and receive feedback from the public. In previous years, the festival has partnered with other local film festivals including the D.C. Shorts Film Festival, Alexandria Film Festival and Rosebud Film & Video Festival.
Organizer and Cinema Professor Lucy Gebre-Egziabher explained the NOVA Student Film Festival gives students the opportunity to showcase their films to an audience and answer questions from viewers after the film screenings. This year, Gebre-Egziabher, NOVA students and alumni premiered 13 films for the festival before hosting a Q&A session for the audience.
In partnership with George Mason University and their Film and Video Studies (FAVS) program, former NOVA students who have transferred to GMU also premiered eight films as a co-production on climate change, in a new series called “Films Without Walls.” Students from Xingtai Polytechnic College in Xingtai, China also collaborated with NOVA students to debut their collaborative as well as individual productions within the series.
“This was our first year including the new Films Without Walls section and we were honored to have special guests from China attend this year’s event,” said Gebre-Egziabher. “The audience was able to watch films made by students from various parts of the world. I’ve always emphasized to my students that film is a very powerful medium. This new series was so important because I wanted students to learn about the world through cinema. This was a unique way to introduce them to different countries, languages and realities.”
Films also included in the festival covered various topics including grief, domestic violence and sexual assault, mental illness, U.S. politics, animal extinction and student life. The film genres included documentary, animation, promotional video, drama, narrative and experimental video. Others who contributed to the inaugural Films Without Walls section included, 100Volando Escuela de Cine; NOVA’s Division of Liberal Arts; Film Collaborative International (FCI); NOVA’s Photography Department; NOVA’s Graphic Design Department; NOVA Studio; NOVA’s Music Department; NOVA’s Student Life Office; TILT (Technology Innovation in Learning and Teaching); NOVA’s Division of Math, Science and Engineering; NOVA-Alexandria Provost Office and NOVA Police.
The festival was free and open to the community, and a reception was held before the screening of the films. Every year, the event brings in more than 100 people to view student productions and to discuss filmmaking.
Gebre-Egziabher also announced the College’s new associate degree in fine arts with a cinema concentration program for individuals with an interest in filmmaking and video production. The two-year program offered at NOVA’s Alexandria and Woodbridge campuses, offers learning from industry professionals and prepare students to transfer to a four-year university to begin a career in film. For additional information, contact Gebre-Egziabher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.