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Connecting Beyond the Classroom: Engaging Students in a Film Festival


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At the University of Tennessee, Librarians and Residence Hall Assistants teamed up to host a film festival for residence hall students. Goals of the program focused increasing community among students in residence halls as well as increasing knowledge of library resources. In this brief presentation, we will share our goals for the program, tips for hosting a 1-day film festival, and outcomes from our event based on feedback from participants. Join us as we explore the benefits of engaging students outside the classroom using a film festival model. To view student films, please go to

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Connecting Beyond the Classroom: Engaging Students in a Film Festival

  1. 1. Connecting Beyond the Classroom: Engaging Students in a Film Festival Michelle H. Brannen Media Literacy Librarian University of Tennessee Watch entries at
  2. 2. Creating the 4-Hour Film Festival  Originated Spring 2014, concept from 2 resident assistants  Partnered with the library  3 Festivals to date:  Spring 2014: 2 RA’s & 2 Librarians  Hess Hall residents on 2 RA’s floors  Spring 2015: 6 RA’s & 2 Librarians  Hess Hall, all floors  Fall 2015: 10 RA’s & 2 Librarians  Opened to all 7 residence halls
  3. 3. Desired Learning Outcomes  Fostering learning communities among participants.  Provide a collaborative learning environment.  Increase undergraduate engagement with the library.  Increase student understanding of media literacy.  To share information about library services.
  4. 4. Festival Development  Students led effort with weekly meetings. Students developed subcommittees, each reported back at weekly full group meetings:  Logistics – overall coordination of event from planning the contest to recruiting judges to soliciting businesses to donate prizes  Fundraising – raised $1,500 used for catering, t-shirts, ads, and live music  Marketing – 3 primary strategies: word-of-mouth from RA’s, posters in dorms, videos circulated by RA’s and on social media sites.  Design – developed logo, created website, and worked closely with marketing  Day of event logistics – responsible for signage, recruiting volunteers, checking in participants, etc.  Assessment & Feedback – developed post-festival survey Library Support:  Printing: posters, handouts, sponsor letters, team packets, festival signage  Equipment: each team provided camera, tripod, boom mic, and laptop with editing software – additional equipment available for checkout at equipment desk  Spaces: library classrooms assigned to each team; library auditorium used for opening meeting and screening; studio recording rooms available  Tech support: studio staff provided equipment and editing assistance
  5. 5. Contest Parameters  All films scripted, shot, and edited in 4 hours.  Teams must incorporate 3 required elements randomly drawn:  Genre  Location  Line  Judging criteria:  Creativity  Quality  Inclusion of required elements  Adherence to the 5-minute time limit
  6. 6. Feedback Why did you decide to participate in the film festival? “This is my first year at UT and I am a theatre major so I wanted to get involved and act for the first time in college. Plus I got to meet new people and I started to feel more like this is where I belong.” What new thing(s) did you learn about the libraries during the festival? “I learned where everything was which was nice and I got to meet some of the library staff. The best thing I learned about was the studio and all it has to offer for students, this is extremely helpful and awesome for projects.” How did this program affect how you feel about being a part of the UTK community? “I met a man who had started a filmmaking club at this event, and now I am joining the filmmaking club. Previously, I did not participate in any clubs.” “I felt closer to the community and made several new friends.” “I felt more a part of the community, like I said I had never met anyone that was in my group and I met people outside my group and to watch everyone cheer for each other and have fun was great.” Please explain why you would recommend or not recommend participation to a friend. “Film fest was fun from start to finish and before it I didn’t know any of the guys on my floor who I made the movie with.” “I learned a lot about film and it was just so much fun to work with a group of people to create something you can be very proud of.”