Emerge Film Festival heightens the art of filmmaking in Lewiston-Auburn

Part of the beauty of Short Term is the possibility to enhance one’s experience in the arts. With such a prevalent yet underappreciated arts scene on campus, Bates provides endless opportunities for students to engage in dance, theater, ceramics, photography and painting, just to name a few. However, filmmaking has had a particularly strong presence on campus this year thanks to the Emerge Film Festival held on campus and in the greater L-A community. Students in the Film Festivals and Digital Video Production course taught by Professor Jon Cavallero were able to get VIP insight to the film industry.

Forty films were played in this weekend-long event that took place from April 28 to May 1 in venues such as Olin Arts Center, Schaeffer Theater the Community Little theater in Auburn and the Franco Center in Lewiston. These films were chosen from a pool of over 2,000 national and international films. Outside of these film screenings, the festival sent ten visiting filmmakers to five area high schools: Edward Little High School in Auburn, Leavitt High School in Turner, Lewiston Regional Technical Center, Lisbon High School and Poland Regional High School.

Cavallero, an integral part of manifesting Emerge Film Festival, is a member of the festival’s Board of Directors but extended his involvement to manager of the Education and Community Outreach Initiatives and member of the Programming Committee. His Short Term course integrates the students’ involvement at this festival with research of other festivals, in addition it gets real life filmmaking experience by producing their own short documentaries that mirror one of Emerge’s core values: either the festival’s educational outreach initiatives, its audience, its connections to the Bates community, or the its importance to Maine filmmakers.

Cavallero commented, “We brought in several nationally prominent filmmakers and a good portion of the Maine filmmaking community was here. The students had a chance to sit and talk with these filmmakers about their films and the career paths they have followed. In some cases, those conversations have given students contacts in the film industry that can serve as a resource as they complete their short term projects, consider internships opportunities and look forward to life after college.”

As a member of Cavallero’s Short Term Course and volunteer at Emerge Film Festival, Laura Pietropaoli ’17 found herself heavily impacted by this event. “As students in Jon’s class, we have been given the opportunity to learn how to use some of the college’s video equipment in order to further our own understanding of the filmmaking process. We also accompanied some Maine-based filmmakers on trips to local schools where the filmmakers gave presentations to groups of students,” she said. Her group was able to interview some high school students post-presentation where they expressed that “filmmaking can be a real career and how they were inspired to continue with their own interest in making films.”

This festival brought inspiration not only to the students in Cavallero’s course, but also to students around campus and in the surrounding area. Unfortunately, a career in the arts is often discouraged due to the academic hierarchy in our society, making it difficult for emerging artists to pursue their work. However, Emerge Film Festival clearly provided hard evidence that highlighted the rewards that professions in filmmaking can yield.

The interaction between the filmmakers and the students definitely fostered this confidence. Cavallero found this to be true, among many other aspects that stood out to him. “The audiences at the on-campus venues represented a nice mix of community members and Bates students, faculty and staff,” he mentioned. He was cautioned by directors at other film festivals that “bringing a festival on campus can deter members of the larger community from attending,” but that was far from the case. He was also glad that “Emerge showcased the work by Bates graduate Nicole Danser, and she was able to come back to campus and interact with students in addition to networking with filmmakers at the festival.” Having alums who do this sort of work is an important part of Emerge, and being able to connect with these Batesies is crucial for Cavallero, his students, and the festival.

Original story by The Bates Student.