Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

‘blue moon’ short films leave much to be desired

Our award-winning art and literary magazine, ‘blue moon,’ added something welcomely new to this year’s issue: visual media. Until now, ‘blue moon’ has been a seemingly traditional annual college literary magazine, displaying unique student poetry, photography, art, and prose within its covers. The advent of visual media (in the form of a DVD insert on the back cover), however, will give this year’s issue of ‘blue moon’ yet another aesthetic dimension many current college literary magazines don’t have.

Or so I thought.

Perhaps I was a little premature thinking that this year’s ‘blue moon’ – vol. 22, for those of you counting – would blow away the competition at next year’s Columbia Scholastic Press Association awards and stir-up an on-campus reception that could’ve been stronger in recent years because of the new visual media insert. It most definitely won’t. That’s not to say that ‘blue moon’ isn’t still the same-old intriguing little literary magazine we like to call our own, but it isn’t yet the groundbreaking, envelope-pushing literary magazine I’d like to see it soon become. Hopefully it will get there some year, but not this one.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I had high expectations for vol. 22. Perhaps too high. But I don’t think that these are unwarranted, especially when the addition is one of visual media. Whitman boasts a superior film studies department with some exceptional filmmaking.

Ben Kegan, ’09, is already on his way to becoming a major presence in American short film with his recent ‘Team Taliban,’ a poignant, methodical study of stereotype, race and religion through the world of professional wrestling, receiving invites to the Ann-Arbor, AFI Dallas, and Tribeca film festivals. These festivals, of course, are three of the most prestigious in the U.S. and that each festival has invited less and less films per year only amplifies Ben’s already remarkable achievement.

Dena Popova, ’10, is another exceptional filmmaking (and, of course, screenwriting) talent. Her short screenplay “At the end, it rains” was a finalist for an international screenwriting competition and, out of all the finalists, she was the youngest.

So maybe my expectations are not so capricious after all.

The crop of films in the DVD insert were not terribly impressive, with the exception of several individual shots (from different films) and Sam Alden and Zach Ellenbogen’s film ‘Boys Will Be,’ the artistic acme of the insert. There was an eerie stalkerish theme throughout most, if not all, of the selections (I’m not sure if it was intentional) that was as unimaginative as it was uncomfortable. Films should make you uncomfortable, but with that discomfort should come a motive.

In any case, I will do a series of posts (perhaps one each) reviewing the six films in the ‘blue moon’ DVD insert in an attempt to give each film a ‘fair’ shot. Regardless of my subjective interpretation of their quality, I’d like to thank all of the filmmakers for their contributions. It is because of you all that I can even hold discussions of film on campus. Thank you again, enjoy, and keep reading.

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