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43 videos on display at ‘Causes’ film festival

 VSU students, faculty and staff and people in the Valdosta area had the opportunity to participate in the Third Annual “Causes” Mini-film Festival this past Saturday.
 The festival, founded by Dr. Matthew Richard, professor of anthropology at VSU, is dedicated to turning learning into action on behalf of society and the planet, with 90-second mini documentaries.
 Forty three videos were included in this year’s festival displaying a variety of topics and issues, within the Valdosta area as well as problems around the world.
 During a brief intermission after the first half of films were shown, the To Be Named Later improv comedy troupe performed for the audience.
 Five judges collaborated after all films were shown to determine the winners. Top prize was $250 for adult entries and $100 for youth entries. Prizes were contributed by Connie Richards, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
 Gus Harmon was the youth entry winner for his film “Paper or Plastic,” and Heather MacLachlan and Nakita Dziegielewski won the adult entry prize with their film titled, “Advertizing 101.” First runner-up was Kara Haskell for “Wear Sunscreen,” and second runner-up was Thomas Tippins for “Stupid in Love.”
 The winners of the film festival were avid about the importance of the film festival.
 “It gives students a creative way to bring awareness to people about an issue they care about,” Heather MacLachlan said.
 “This film festival allowed students to become educated about issues that affect them on a daily basis whether they know it or not,” Nakita Dziegielewski, senior Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies major, said.
 Matt Cribbs, social studies teacher for the Valdosta Early College Academy, was pleased to have his students participate in the festival.
 “As a social studies teacher, I feel it is very important to instill a sense of civic responsibility in my students. Social awareness is a vital part of this,” Cribbs said. “The ‘Causes’ film festival is a great outlet for students to have their voices heard.”
 Members of the audience were impressed by the films.
 “The videos were very diverse, the topics were informative and there was a lot of detailed information, which was important to understand[ing],” Steven Cary, sophomore psychology major, said.
 Dr. Richard had a few words to express about the festival and what he hoped participants would take from it.
 “’Causes’ combines critical thinking about the wider world and creativity and the result is a learning community,” Richard said. “This is what universities should do. Bringing members from the community to wider campus is also a wonderful thing. I’m confident that many spectators left with a new perspective and that some will implement some of the ideas they learned about tonight.”
To see all the videos featured in the mini film festival, visit the “Causes” group at Facebook.com. If you would like to participate in next year’s Causes festival, contact Dr. Matthew Richard at mjrichard@valdosta.edu or Andrea Zvikas at aazvikas@valdosta.edu.

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