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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

French program receives grant for International Film Series

Slashing of international language programs raises questions over festival’s future.
Students+wait+outside+Marting+104+on+Friday+afternoon+for+the+International+Film+Festivals+showing+at+5+p.m.
Simon Skoutas
Students wait outside Marting 104 on Friday afternoon for the International Film Festival’s showing at 5 p.m.

For the last two weekends of February, Baldwin Wallace University is set to host the annual International Film Series, screening films from countries such as France, Germany, Pakistan and Korea.  

Funded by the Student Government and Albertine Cinémathèque Festival Grant supported by the Franco-American Cultural Exchange, the International Film Series is focused on increasing visibility and awareness of cultures from around the globe. The committee also partners with the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Culture and other cultural programs on campus. 

“We were the only French program in Ohio to receive the grant [from Albertine Cinémathèque Festival Grant] this year among 40 schools nationwide, which is a pretty big honor,” Marissa Pope, the co-president of the International Film Series committee, said.  

The event is free and open to the public. Held in Marting Hall’s screening room 114, they showcase films that are all critically acclaimed and recent in addition to one classic French film.  

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“Film viewing is exciting in a theatrical format,” Dr. Nadia Sahely, professor of French and Francophone studies, said. “It is so different from viewing a film from your computer at home.” 

In addition, Sarah Burger said that participants will have the opportunity to discuss the film with others.  

“Sometimes we have discussions about the film after… or sometimes we have guest speakers come in to discuss the relevance and importance of the film,” Burger said.  

Pope said that they will also hold receptions in between the showings with international foods. For example, the Spanish program serves cuisine from the movie from their corresponding culture.  

“It’s a really fun experience that really brings together all different parts of the community,” Pope said, “and really celebrates all the cultures.” 

Burger said the event attracts people from various high schools and all over the Cleveland area.  

Last year was their first year back in person since the pandemic, but they still gathered an audience of over 500 people. 

“For so many people in the community, alumni, friends of the school, students and professors, this is an event that people look forward to,” Pope said. “It is an integral part of our school and our community here.” 

Cynthia Pavkov, a german student, eagerly awaits the International Film Festival showings starting at 5 p.m. (Simon Skoutas)

Pope said that international films often go unrecognized by American viewers, which, she said, might be because subtitles are required for comprehension or that we are just so used to the typical Hollywood film.  

Sahely said the little exposure that these movies receive means people are missing out. 

“The films tell many untold stories, shed light on global perspectives and depict many transformations in our world,” Sahely said. 

With the French and German majors being cut due to the deficit, the question was raised whether the event will be able to continue for the upcoming school years. Burger said that the committee remains hopeful the event will continue because it is funded by the Student Government and not the school itself. 

“One thing that was kind of a miscommunication on BW’s part was that they said that the entire French program was cut and that’s not true,” Burger said. “They are cutting the major, but the minor is still available.”  

Pope also said that the study abroad and the classes are still available as well, but Finn Pasatta, a first-year who is earning his experiential learning credit said he is concerned for the future of the festival.   

“Part of the conditions of the grant is that the university supports this event and that the French program is active on the campus,” Pasatta said. “We are slightly worried that if the French program is less visible, it will impact whether we get this grant in the future.” 

The International Film Series will be taking place Feb. 16-18 and 23-25. For the full film schedule and more information, visit https://www.bw.edu/events/international-film-series/ 

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article that appeared in print in the February 21 edition of The Exponent and on bwexponent.com included a claim that the International Film Series also screened films from Spain. Dr. Nadia Sahely has since clarified with The Exponent that the International Film Series did not screen a film from Spain this year as they have in years past. This claim has been removed. 

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