January 30, 2023

The Susan Hirt Hagen Center, in partnership with the Wittenberg cinema studies department and YouMedia Springfield, hosted the first annual Wittenberg Film Festival Saturday in Founders. The event was developed as a way to achieve some of the goals sets of the Hagen Center, such as community service, internship and bringing the community to campus; a way to connect our students to those in the community through something that they are mutually interested in.
The Fest contestants were prompted to create a 4-5 minute video that expressed a positive message, while including their Springfield community. There were five total entries for the 2016 Film Fest, four from Clark County high school students and one entry from a Wittenberg student. They were reviewed by three judges representing the sponsors: Robin Inboden (professor of English), Stephanie McCuistion (administrative director of the Hagen Center) and Brian Traylor (‘86).
Beginning with Clark County students, the first showing was titled “Blind 24,” which received second place in the Clark County Student category. The short film was documentary style, following a young man who decided to be blind by means of a mask for 24 hours. As an artist, the young man felt that by doing this, he would better understand those with this visual condition from an external and internal stand point, performing tasks such as painting, pottery, and even walking from place to place.
The second short film, receiving fourth, was similar in documentary style; but the subject matter was individualism. To conform or to be a ridiculed individual: the film emphasized the definition of being an individual in the eyes of high school students. Each student felt that it had to do with confidence, and not being concerned with conforming to what is considered normal.
The third short film, receiving third place, was filmed in Springfield High School; in a similar documentary setting, this film was directed towards students in or going into high school. For some, these years are the most stressful – and rewarding – parts of their lives; but it is difficult to know quite what to expect. Some students confessed to their fears as they entered the doors for the first time; others recollected on old times, mistakes and growth alike. The final short film in this category was titled “The Snapple,” receiving first place. The film’s message was created to convey a very simple message: Stop Bullying; a student is confronted after the purchase of a Snapple at the vending machine, and all time freezes around the bullying victim and does not continue until he stands up for himself in a calm, collected way.
The only Witt student short film entry was provided by junior English Major and member of the cinema studies program Camila Quiñones, entitled: “Jo.”
The short film followed a young man through the wonderful moments of his relationships, dropping roses of remembrance while a narrated goodbye letter is spoken in the background. The film ended with the words, “Our lost loved ones can be remembered anywhere. They are never gone; they are always with us.”

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