Each fall, as the sun finally makes way for the autumn cloud cover and campus settles in for the semester, the season of film festivals begins with gusto. One of the most anticipated festivals this season is the Honors Film Series, whose 2011 Series on the post-apocalypse included Wall-E, Shaun of the Dead and Delicatessen, and left campus eagerly awaiting this year’s installment.
I sat down with this year’s student director, Ariana Scott-Zechlin, who is organizing the Honors Film Series for the third year, to talk about the work that has gone into the 2012 Honors Film Series, entitled “Don’t Leave Me Here Alone.”
“The series begins with people who would rather die than leave their ‘means to live’ and ends with people who are so obsessed with those who have died that they no longer know how to live themselves,” Scott-Zechlin, a senior in the Honors Program who works with Lina Bloomer, the Honors Program secretary, and Professor Andy Rex, the Honors Program director, to put together the Series, said.
The inspiration for the this year’s theme came from a poignant academic experience Scott-Zechlin had outside the Honors Program.
“I took our university’s course on pre-modern Japanese literature a couple years ago and ended up very intrigued by pre-modern Japanese aesthetics, which focus in part on the beautiful tragedy that results in loving something so much that you are tormented in your inability to let it go, despite its inevitable passing,” she said.
She originally volunteered to direct the Film Series in 2010, which includes defining a theme for the series each year.
“I basically choose the theme by starting with one or two films I really want to show people and then seeing if there are any overarching themes within those films that I could expand upon to form a series,” she said.
Each year the series consists of five films over roughly a month in the fall semester, presented by the students of the Honors Program as a way to connect the Program with the greater Puget Sound community. In addition to the films, the series also features a discussion led by a faculty member relating to the theme of the series. This year, the introductory tea on Oct. 8 will feature a talk by Professor Priti Joshi entitled “Is Dying On Screen Easier?”
“My personal goal with every film series is to give people the chance to see how a particular idea is interpreted across a varying spectrum of films: from familiar favorites to movies they’ve never even heard of, from old black and white films to brightly colored animation,” Scott-Zechlin explained. “I hope people will gain a new perspective on the many different ways we portray death and obsession, as well as an appreciation for how the two ideas are connected.”
The series begins on Monday, Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. in the Honors House with the Introductory Tea featuring Professor Joshi, followed by the movies (all at 7 p.m. in Rouch), beginning with, The Legend of 1900 on Oct. 9, The Red Shoes on Oct. 23, Rebecca on Oct. 30, Is Anybody There? on Nov. 6, and concluding with Up on Nov. 11.