On Campus, Arts

Students Raise Awareness for Social Conflicts at BC’s Arts Fest Screening

With landscapes from Wellesley all the way to Stockholm, Boston College students took the audience through a trip around the world while discussing social issues in this year’s Arts Fest.

BC’s annual Arts Festival, held from April 25–27, brought together a plethora of talents of the BC community.

The Short Film Festival, aimed to showcase the work of student filmmakers, took place in the Vandy Cab Room, on Saturday. A total of six films were screened, all of which were directed by BC students. 

The first documentary, Magnificity, by Benjamin Burke, MCAS ’25, and Megan Malcolm, MCAS ’24, opened the screening with a three-minute long film on the beauty of Boston. Shots focused on various aspects of what makes the city great, from its views to its people.

Next was Feeding Hearts: A Village Table Wellesley Story, by Abby Duffy, WCAS ’25, the longest film out of the six presented. This documentary extended over a period of 24 minutes, in which the filmmaker highlighted the combined efforts of the Wellesley community in creating a food relief group under the name of Feeding Hearts. Composed of interviews with many of those involved with the project, scenes varied from sit-down conversations to shots at the kitchen, while volunteers prepared the meals to be given to those in need. When asked about the overall vision of this documentary project, Jamie Duffy, part of the camera operations and crew, revealed how the main goal was to spread awareness of poverty, food, and security, as well as the work done by Feeding Hearts.

Tunnelbana Transects, by Cyrus Rosen, MCAS ’25, is a short yet brilliant piece. In the film, a young boy takes the Stockholm Metro, otherwise known as tunnelbana, and travels through the city in four minutes. Seemingly small details that show great artistic skills include an interruption in the ongoing soundtrack, as the boy removes his headphones when in a rush to get into the train. This is followed by snippets of the subway and different landscapes of the city which match the beat of the song playing in the background.

The fourth documentary, titled A New Lease on Life, by Maeve Pinheiro, MCAS ’25, delves into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Italian homelessness and refugees. With statements from students and professors at American University of Rome, as well as from people who found themselves shelter-less after the pandemic, the documentary aims to clarify the ways in which we can, “reconcile with them after the fact to mend relationships and improve welfare.”

Still on the issue of housing, Second Place, by Owen Durkee, MCAS ’27, discusses the impact of the Olympics on the greater Paris region and its inhabitants, who become “invisible” amid the hyper-focus of the news on the athletic event.

Lastly, Lighthouse, by Lola Ellis, MCAS ’26, raises awareness of the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on the female widowed population and their struggle to receive aid due to their social status. With the inclusion of moving testimonies and emotional scenes, the documentary does a great job at giving voice to this marginalized group. The project also brings attention to the contribution of Friends of Kalangarai—meaning “lighthouse” in Tamil—and organization in empowering women going through hard times, and aiding them through the provision of self-help groups and educational programs.

As seen from all the documentaries screened at the festival, this year’s Arts Fest once again showcased students’ impressive cinematography skills. Most importantly, the short films shed light on pressing societal concerns, from local to global scales, successfully raising awareness to specific issues and incentivizing change.

April 28, 2024

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