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Docs on the Docks: VMA Students, Faculty Hit Camden International Film Festival

Three men and four women stand together on street
Emerson students with Camden International Film Festival found Ben Fowlie ’03 (third from left) at this year’s festival, held September 16-19. Courtesy photo

A group of Visual and Media Arts students and faculty attended the Camden (Maine) International Film Festival (CIFF) last month, to watch documentaries, meet filmmakers, and talk shop with other creators.

The trip marked the first time an Emerson contingent has gone to an in-person festival since the pandemic began in March 2020.

This year, VMA Professor Kathryn Ramey participated as an LEF/CIFF Fellow with her film El Signo Vacio, a feature-length “cinematic essay” that examines the U.S. occupation of Puerto Rico and how American democratic narratives obscure the country’s colonial power in the region.

Read More: Professor’s Film on Occupation of Puerto Rico Wins Creative Capital Funding

Media Arts Production major Lucy Ma ’23 called the experience “eye-opening.”

men and women wearing face masks, sitting in audience, looking at camera
Emerson students and faculty at a CIFF event. Lucy Ma ’23 is at center, in striped pants. Courtesy photo

“It is definitely a unique experience … when you can share your thoughts to the documentarians in person, ask them questions, and learn from them,” Ma said in the VMA newsletter.

CIFF and the annual Points North Documentary Forum was created in 2005 by alum Ben Fowlie ’03. Taking place in venues across Midcoast Maine, the festival is one of the premiere nonfiction film events in the country.

 “CIFF is much more than a film festival, this trip is much more than a school trip, it’s a … platform tht encourages people to exchange their perspectives, feelings, thoughts, and dreams,” Ma said.

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