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UC Center for Media and Film Studies Hosts Local Premieres During Annual European Film Festival

Michael Gott, associate professor of Romance Languages and Literature, explores and explains the limits of European cinema as part of the UC Center for Film and Media Studies' 2018 European Film Festival, which runs through March 8.

Date: 2/9/2018 9:00:00 AM
By: Stuart Lindle
Photos By: Michael Gott, The Mini Microcinema

UC ingot  
As director of programming for the University of Cincinnati Center for Film and Media Studies (CFMS), Professor Michael Gott aims to use film and media as a tool to engage UC students and the public with global issues that have local impact. 

“We try to focus on things that people wouldn’t otherwise see in Cincinnati, and frame them in an academic way,” Gott said.  
Photograph of Michael Gott.
Michael Gott

The CFMS, headed by Todd Herzog, promotes partnerships between scholars, students, artists, and media professionals to host screenings of films that otherwise wouldn’t be shown on local big screens.

The center has partnered with The Mini Microcinema, a non-profit movie house in Over-the-Rhine, to showcase a selection of films as part of its 2018 European Film Festival. The films at the festival, selected around the theme of “Limits of European Cinema,” are intentionally broad. 

“It could be geographic margins, or something that’s out of what film is normally doing,” Gott said. “We try to push the margins of what you might think of when it comes to cinema.”

From artistic limits, such as German artist and filmmaker Julien Rosefeldt’s cinematic adaptation of her 13-piece installation, "Manifesto," featuring Cate Blanchett, to the physical limits of the 19th century Romania countryside in "Aferim" — the films are as diverse as the European identities they represent.

Photograph: Michael Gott addresses the audience before a screening of
Michael Gott addresses the audience before a screening of "Swagger."

The festival will continue through the month of February into early March with screenings at The Mini Microcinema and other locations including the Cincinnati Art Museum and Esquire Theatre. The last film in the series is “La Madre,” directed by Alberto Morias, which will be screened at The Esquire on March 8.

During the second night of the festival Gott introduced the film, "Swagger" — an innovative documentary by Oliver Babinet. The subjects are eleven teenagers growing up in one of the most underprivileged neighborhood in France. 

"Swagger" — the third of 10 films in the the festival — takes a mostly documentarian look at the lives of minority students living just outside of Paris. The film is spliced with fictional scenes that juxtapose their surroundings of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a neighborhood that made headlines during the 2005 riots.

Gott says he chose the film due to its creative use of narrative, but also its relevance to local audiences citing its similarity to a locally shot film, “The Fits” — a psychological drama, which used local dance-team members to tell an authentic and relatable story.

Shot in Cincinnati’s West End, "The Fits" shares the innovative perspective of "Swagger." “It’s clearly in an urban area where people have disadvantages, but it doesn’t wallow in those,” Gott said. “It doesn’t ignore them either.”

He often will use his own, his colleagues, and students’ academic interests to inspire programming that takes topics out of the classroom and onto the screen.

“One thing I enjoy about dealing with these issues in class is that usually you have students who have some sort of experience that they can relate to, there’s something universal about it,” Gott said. “When you see a film with a really compelling protagonist, like Swagger, it might make someone look at it a little differently.”

For details on the festival’s films, locations and showtimes follow @UCfilm.

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