Eight North Central College students joined Associate Professor of Speech Communication Steve Macek during the weekend of Oct. 7-9 for a Verandah course at the annual Chicago International Film Festival.
The festival features contemporary films from countries around the world that often don’t receive mainstream attention or distribution. Macek, who is also coordinator of Urban and Suburban Studies and an instructor for the Chicago Term, developed the film festival Verandah, which was offered for the first time this fall term.
Verandah courses are unique experiential learning opportunities available to North Central College students every term with the option of being taken for one credit hour.
“One of the things I've noticed about my own students is they’re not nearly as familiar with global cinema as students were in my day,” Macek said. “So, my big motivation for offering the Verandah was to give students an opportunity to be exposed to cinema they would otherwise never experience. Not to mention the fact that film festivals actually give you an opportunity to hear from and talk with the directors and actors responsible for making the films you’re watching.”
For the class, students viewed screenings for six films over the course of the three days. This year’s selection of films represented several different countries and perspectives: “Ticket to Paradise” from Cuba, “Kinyarwanda” and “Like Crazy” from the United States, “Tomboy” from France, “Miss Bala” from Mexico and “Cairo 678” from Egypt.
After the screenings, the class met to discuss the films and reflect on their experiences seeing and interacting with the directors and actors who were present and talked about their submission and answered audience questions.
“I liked the director of ‘Kinyarwanda,’” Kimberly Dallmann ’14 said during the class discussion. “I liked the way he told the story and the inspirations for the film. He also talked about working in the Peace Corps, which I’d like to do.”
“Overall, I thought the Verandah was a success,” Macek said. “We got to see six very different films from various countries and had an opportunity to hear from four different directors and two actors. It really gave students a taste of the full ‘film festival’ experience. I’m certainly going to apply to teach the class again next year.”
The following students and faculty participated in the film festival Verandah and appear in the photo, from left: Jessica Bushek ’12, Dallmann, Klariza Alvaran ’13, Macek, Audrey Martin ’12, Peggy Moran ’13, Jenny Riley ’13, Jessica Simak ’15 and Kelly Cox ’13.