By Raynard Churchwell
ATLANTA— The School of Film, Media & Theatre finished off the year with its annual showcase, the Georgia State University Student Film Festival (GSUSFF). The festival celebrates student films written, produced, and directed by current undergraduate Film and Media majors, MFA students and M.A. production students of the 2022-2023 academic year.
The faculty screening committee — Distinguished University Professor Alessandra Raengo, Professor Daniel Robin, and Lecturer Steve Pustay selected the 90-minute program of 14 final films to compete at the GSUSFF Plaza Theatre program on May 5. The jury of professional artists include decorated filmmakers Caroline Rumley and Cydney Tucker.
The winners of the 2023 GSUSFF include:
Best Documentary: Lilis Filmmaker Kat Rolader
Kat made this film in Documentary Production Fall 22. The film is a sophisticated and unique mediation on memory that is structured through a narrative about a mother-daughter relationship, driven by the filmmaker’s desire to know who her mother was before immigrating to America.
Best Fiction: Camp Notso Filmmaker Palmer Williams III
The directorial vision of the filmmaker is evident, seen in the incredible production values and amazing performances from a wide range of young actors. Palmer’s filmmaking is playful, whimsical, and pays homage to a variety of American film genres.
Best Experimental: REST INTUIT Filmmaker Olamma Oparah
Olamma made this film in her graduate seminar, Documentary Production Spring 23. The filmmaking is at once political, personal, spiritual, and emotionally honest; a beautiful tapestry of black women’s voices/experiences, entrenched in capitalism, urgent to resist through rest. A poetic and complex film that invites catharsis.
Special Jury Award: Islets of Langerhans Filmmaker Anna Winter
Anna made this film in her graduate seminar, Documentary Production Spring 23. The filmmaking is personal, investigative portrait of the filmmaker’s mother. The structure harkens to a detective-like journey into the filmmaker’s cinematic probing and her mother’s continual search for meaning and evidence in why she has type 1 diabetes. The filmmaking is inventive and rich in formal creativity, resonating with the viewer on an emotional level.
“The entire selection of films, programmed for the Plaza Theater screening and that were in competition for these awards, was very strong,” Daniel Robin said. “If I were a jury member, I’d be hard-pressed to choose the award-winning films, but I think the jury did an incredible job, giving awards to films that are representative of not only the diversity within our student filmmakers’ lived experiences but also their distinctive creative voices and unique approaches in using the form to express ideas and emotional situations.”
Click here to view a sizzle reel of this year’s winning entries.