Film festival adapts to online world

Madison Rodak

Ever since Ursinus made the announcement on Mar. 17 that all classes would go online for the remainder of the semester, several clubs and activities across campus have also made the decision to switch to a virtual format. “The International Film Festival: Films from Latin America and Spain” is one of them.

Dr. Chisu Teresa Ko, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Latin American Studies Coordinator at Ursinus, explains, “Pragda, the film distributor was helpful and efficient in facilitating this move to an online festival. I’m thankful that the Spanish faculty involved will continue to present the films that they picked.”

While the new online format of the film festival loses the sense of community it once had, having to forgo face-to-face discussions of the films, the festival still offers the opportunity for students to connect digitally. “We will certainly miss the experience of watching the film in a big screen as well as the communal feeling when you are gathered together,” Dr. Ko says. “The in-person discussions after the screening were also a great way to think through the films and listen to other people’s observations and reactions. But given the circumstances, we are glad and grateful to be able to offer the films online.”

Dr. Ko also hopes that the new virtual format will reach more students and staff members. “Having the films online, in a way, makes them accessible to a greater audience. We hope that viewing these films will give everyone a little break from the current situation. I also hope that these films will be windows to the diverse experiences and expressions in Latin America and Spain.”

As mentioned, students that are interested in participating in the film festival can still give their reflections on the films and read others’ thoughts. “In place of the post-screening discussions, we have opened an online discussion board on Canvas,” Dr. Ko explains. “Please share your thoughts and reactions!” The next film for the film festival is “Asier and I.” It will go live on Apr. 1.

Despite the sudden and difficult adjustment to online classes and closure of campus, it is nice to see some clubs and activities are still trying to bring the campus together. On Mar. 28, the Association for Computing Machinery held their Hackathon online, speaking with participants through Discord. Also, though still unannounced, Dr. John Volkmer hopes to arrange for a virtual launch of “The Lantern,” the college’s literary magazine.