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The Film Festival is Back

By Kaylyn Jones

It’s no surprise that in-person events are hard to come by this year, and many students are feeling the disconnect that comes as a result. Malone is an institution built on community and tradition, but many campus traditions have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. However, the communication arts department has announced that the Open Frame Film Festival is back and being held in person this spring.

This long-beloved event will be on April 22 at 7 p.m. and held at the Canton Palace Theatre at 605 Market Ave. Everyone involved is thrilled to be able to see this event come to fruition and they excitedly anticipate a wonderful night full of excitement watching films created by talented students.

This event is a meaningful and important opportunity for students on campus; especially those in the film and media concentration of the communication arts major. 

“The reason why this film festival is important is because it is a core curricular program in our department,” Sangsun Choi, assistant professor of media production, said. “Our students can learn something through their practice and participation, and many students learn media production skills and how to apply their knowledge.”

Choi has been making the film festival possible for a number of years during his time at Malone. 

“This is a great opportunity for our students to learn something by doing practical work,” Choi said.

Due to COVID-19, the event has been scaled back. Usually, it brings in hundreds of people for viewing from the Malone community as well as the surrounding Canton community. 

“[The Open Frame Film Festival] experience is really helpful [for] students to know how to communicate with their audience,” Choi said. 

While this event creates an opportunity for students to grow their experience and apply their knowledge, it also builds community and allows students to showcase their passions on the big screen.

Between writers, directors, camera crew, actors and those in other roles, there are many people involved in making this festival possible. Having the opportunity to see their work come to life for a live audience sparks excitement all around campus.

“Everyone has been working so hard on these films,” Connor Jones, sophomore communication arts major with a concentration in film and media, said. “We put in so many hours creating them, [so] it’s exciting to find out we can actually show them at the theatre.” 

Jones, along with the other filmmakers, will be showing his work on the big screen in downtown Canton and couldn’t be more excited.

“I am personally really excited to [participate in] the film festival, especially with my sister,” Makayla Smith, senior communication arts major, said. ”We’ve never collaborated on a project before so this [event] gave us a great excuse to actually work on something together.” 

“[Our film] is going to be like a film rhapsody,” Smith said. “[It’s] called “Main Character Syndrome,” and we are doing different genres within that: we have a drama, a comedy, a musical and a period piece.” 

Each filmmaker has the creative freedom to make a film that they are passionate about. 

The film festival is open to the local community; surrounding high schools are invited to the festival and encouraged to attend. This not only builds the audience for the filmmakers, but it gives high school students an opportunity to experience a college event, which may spark interest in applying to Malone. 

“When I found out that [the Open Frame Film Festival] was happening in-person at the theatre, it got me excited thinking about how a sense of normalcy might be coming back,” Jones said. “It’s nice to finally hear that something is happening without Zoom; it makes me hopeful.” 

With the arrival of spring and the uncertainty that is still surrounding COVID-19, many are expecting events to remain postponed or online. Students are craving the hope that comes with the good news of events being held somewhat normally and public places reopening. It is fantastic to see how the Open Frame Film Festival will spark hope as everyone is welcome to come downtown and participate in a safe, in-person event.

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