Students launch film symposium


Last Friday, the Undergraduate Film Studies Symposium took place for the first time at Laurier. The film symposium is an academic forum for film students to present papers with the intention of receiving feedback, generating discussion and sharing ideas.

The three-hour event was divided into two sections, each followed by a question and answer period. The first half of the symposium featured papers with focus on auteur theory, such as through the films of Joel and Ethan Coen, Rob Zombie and Edgar Wright.

The second half of the symposium featured papers with a focus on genre, identity and space. Presenters discussed topics such as the ideologies of horror films, identity in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the power of sound in Being John Malkovich and the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein in film comedy.

The symposium was organized by senior film students Tim Green, Joanna Coathup and Adam Cilevitz. Green, who also emceed the event, was inspired to organize the Symposium after presenting his paper at the annual Midwest Undergraduate Film Conference, held at The University of Notre Dame, last April.

“I was really intellectually stimulated by the whole experience and I wanted to bring a similar experience to Laurier so that undergrad students could have a practice run.”

Both Green and Coathup consider the event a success. “I was really pleased with the way it turned out…I think the discussions that came out afterwards were probably the best part of the whole event,” said Coathup.

Coathup explains that the symposium was not only important in generating discussion about film, but also in enhancing the profile of Laurier’s film studies department.

“It’s of huge importance to get the profile of our program up and to make sure that it keeps progressing in a way that is positive for students. The more interest we get from the students within the program and people outside of the program, I think that is a very positive thing to foster the love of [film].”

Though Coathup and Green will be graduating in April, they are adamant about making the Film Studies Symposium an annual event.

“The relationships you get out of it, sharing ideas basically [are important because] that’s not something that normally would happen in a classroom setting…It’s a point of pride I think to have it done not officially through the school [and] through the curriculum; it’s nice to have that interest in your field but outside the official academic setting” said Coathup.

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