Media and Cultural Studies Hosts Third Annual Festival

By Laila Rashid, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
May 20, 2015

Tomorrow, the department of media and cultural studies (MCS) will host its third annual festival to showcase student talent. This year, the format has evolved from film festival to media festival, and will now include video games, documentaries, and interactive workshops led by professionals from Hollywood. Ruhi Khan, assistant professor in MCS and organizer of the festival, has been involved with the event since fall, and pointed to students who had previously worked on the festival as the main motivating force behind this year’s events. This year’s theme focuses on California and its resilience and challenges.

The daylong event, which is open to the public, will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in INTS 1128, 1109, and 3150.  From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in INTS 1128, the film festival will be held, while the video games festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in INTS 3150. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in INTS 1109, the festival will bring producers, lead actors, and the director/creator of Hulu’s acclaimed pro-social drama, East Los High, to discuss the challenges of creating innovative and responsible programming in the emerging media environment. From 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in INTS 1109, the festival will hold a workshop with independent film writer/director Jesse Rosen and film and television producer Laurence Ducceschi, known for their work on Beauty & the Briefcase, The Art of Being Straight, and Category 7: The End of the World, to interact with students and provide insight into the media industry. Registration for these celebrity panels is required and space is limited.

The next day, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in INTS 1111, the festival will hold a reception, with an award ceremony to follow from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in INTS 1128.

Khan highlighted two unique aspects of this year’s festival: the skills students learn by participating and opportunities to make connections. “The festival gives students an opportunity to understand the demands of media industry by first organizing something,” she said. “From marketing, event planning, to how to judge media content, they will understand the logistics from start to finish.” This, she says, will provide them with a segway into the industry by helping them identify their talents. “Secondly, we have people who are actual potential employers who are educating the students as well as being that little window of opportunity.”

Khan looks forward to seeing the films created by her students seeing them get the best out of the people who are coming from Hollywood to learn their way into the industry. “I want them to be in less awe of Hollywood, and understand that the world out there is not that difficult to achieve,” she said. “By bringing the professionals and celebrities, I hope we can inspire and show them that these are real people, who started somewhere and made it big.”

Danielle Borao, a fourth year MCS major and board member for the festival, expressed delight over the doors Khan has opened for students this year, stating, “I appreciate working with a team that has so much passion in helping to make this festival grow even more from the previous ones we’ve had these last two years.”

The next step, Khan says, is to move toward providing support to the students to be able to create media products and to intervene as media producers in the new digital economies, which create opportunities but also create challenges. “What you present has to be cutting edge because there is so much out there,” she said.

For more information, please visit http://mcs.ucr.edu/mcs-media-festival-2/ or contact mcsfilmfestival@gmail.com or Ruhi Khan at ruhi.khan@ucr.edu.


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