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See ETSU student films at Johnson City theater Tuesday night

Rex Barber • Apr 22, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Tuesday at Johnson City’s Real to Reel Cinemas, you have a chance to see films by students who may be the next Spielberg, Scorsese or Hitchcock.

Short films and documentaries created by students at East Tennessee State University will be presented at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the theater in Johnson City.

These works were produced by film and documentary students in the Radio/TV/Film program in ETSU’s Department of Communication, said Shara Lange, who oversees the university’s radio, television, video and film program.

”It’s exciting to promote and listen to student voices from this area,” Lange said. “Plus it’s excellent work. It’s outstanding work.”

Lange said 17 students created 10 films that will be screened.

Mike Fink and Mariam Ayad are among the students involved with the films.

Fink has three short films in the screening, has achieved notoriety on YouTube and has been invited to the upcoming Nerdcon at Appalachian State University.

“Filmmaking has always been my passion, though I didn’t know it,” Fink said, adding he discovered his love for filmmaking after enrolling in the ETSU program.

Fink, who grew up in Kingsport, spoke briefly about his three entries in this year’s screening.

“A Sea Change” is a film about “crushing normality for a creative person,” he said. “It’s different. You’ll just have to check this one out and see for yourself.”

“Bongo” is his next film, which he described as very bizarre, a representation of all the weird ideas that go through someone’s head.

“Bodjackers” is the final film of Fink’s in this screening. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world.

“I feel like everything really came together as we were filming that,” Fink said. “That film is my baby. I really like that film.”

Ayad is working on a master’s degree in professional communication.

She and seven other students made a short documentary called “Old Country for New Men” for a class in documentary research and production.

This documentary is about Erfan Rezayatbakhsh Rezai, an ETSU student from Iran who is attending the bluegrass program. He intends to bring this genre to his country.

“I haven’t done a lot with film production in the past,” Ayad said, adding she is learning a lot about the art. “We have some of the best equipment at ETSU in the RTVF department, so it’s really cool to get to work with all that.”

This six- or seven-minute documentary was filmed in four days.

“I’m very excited to get to see it on the big screen,” Ayad said. “It’s going to be really neat.”

Fink said a lot of work goes into filmmaking.

“It’s an incredible amount of work to do this,” he said. “It’s unusual in that I don’t mind how much work it is. Whenever I’m working, I’m doing something that I love. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had in my life.”

This is the second year student films have been shown in a community venue, Lange said.

“We always show work every semester on campus, but this is different,” Lange said. “Its’s a good way to show students their work to the community.”

Lange said money raised from the event will support the Tom Headley Student Production Award, which will recognize an outstanding original senior project.

Headley, who retired in 2010, is the founder and a longtime supporter of ETSU’s broadcasting program.

Tickets are $3 per person and can be bought at the Real to Reel box office. Individuals may also purchase a $5 ticket to be entered into a drawing for door prizes.

Lange said last year $600 was made from a sellout crowd.

Besides those four films mentioned above, Lange said there are films about winter sports, video games and narratives.

“We have some work for students who have been doing this a long time and some from students who are new,” she said. “There’s something for everybody.”

Lange said there was a big student turnout last year and hoped for the same reception this year.

“It’s exciting for the students to see their work on the big screen,” she said. “It’s validating. And of course, it influences other students.

“It’s also about creating and supporting this community of filmmakers.”

Real to Reel is located at 130 W. Springbrook Drive. For more information, email Lange at langes@etsu.edu or call 439-7572.

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