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A Different Lens

BSU students learn to produce and host film festival

When Luke Diliberto, ’23, searches for social media jobs, he’ll have an important addition to his resume thanks to a new Bridgewater State University class.

Luke is helping run social media for a film festival he is organizing with his classmates in the communication studies course.

“It’s a lot more demanding,” the communication studies major and management minor said. “There’s so much we have to get done. It’s realistic. It’s what you would experience in a workplace.”

Under the guidance of Assistant Professor Michele Meek, the class handles logistics, social media promotion, video production and other aspects of the Bridge Student Film Festival. To divide into teams, Dr. Meek asked students to write resumes and cover letters and apply for positions.

“I know students are so eager to get hands-on experience in the field,” said Meek, a filmmaker who has run festivals and served on their juries and advisory boards. “The idea was to create a class where we did everything from start to finish in terms of putting on a film festival.”

Meek hopes students leave the course inspired by the knowledge of how much they can do.

“You have the power to start something from nothing and see it through to a culminating event,” she said.

The class explored ethical considerations, how films are chosen for festivals and issues around diversity and inclusion. Students developed branding and guidelines for who could submit films.

They opened the event to Rhode Island and Massachusetts public college and high school students to shine a light on local talent and give participants a new venue to showcase their creativity.

"We’re bringing something that seems a little more out of reach to a more local scale,” said Julia McNeely, ’24, a communication studies major with minors in history and political science. “It’s an opportunity for people who wouldn’t have those doors open otherwise.”

Julia, who aspires to attend law school and pursue a career in media law, worked on logistics. She appreciated having this experience in the context of a class that encourages experimentation, even if mistakes occur.

“It's giving me concrete, real-world applications,” she said. “It’s professional work, but it’s in a safe environment.”

Damien Brown, ’23, who studies graphic design and communications, enjoyed developing promotional materials for the festival.

“One thing I think about all the time is where is the overlap between the fields,” they said. “This class does that.”

The festival, which is open to the public, will be held from 12:30 to 5 p.m. April 26 in Moakley Center. There will be networking, film screenings and a guest speaker. Some works will be streamed online from April 20-26.

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