The 2019 Global Media Festival

The Global Media Festival was a one-night screening of international shorts organized and presented by the students enrolled in my Global Media Cultures course during fall 2019.

For the last four weeks of the course, students worked in groups to watch and analyze the shorts; write critical introductions and film reviews; and plan a promotional campaign for the event. This collaborative effort built on the topics studied in the course (migration, translation, adaptation, global inequality) and on semester-long class discussions on the role of media in addressing these topics.

On the evening of November 20, 2019, we held the event at the main auditorium at the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition to the members of the class and their friends, members of the ATEC community also showed up. Each group had selected one person to introduce their short, and I gave a brief introduction at the beginning explaining the project and the work students had put into it. Read a digital copy of the festival program.

Though I intend to write a more thorough debrief and reflection on the event and the assignment, preliminarily I can say that it was a success in terms of its stated goals.

During our class debrief, students stated that among the key advantages of organizing an event as a final assignment was the fact that it was a public-facing project. Rather than a paper submission which most felt no one else would care about (beyond the professor assigning a grade), students appreciated the opportunity to bring partners, friends, and family members to the event. A few even mentioned that the event itself helped explain to their social circles some of the ideas we had discussed in class by referring to the screened shorts.

Several students also admitted that they appreciated having the time to work on the planning and writing in class. I specifically wanted this to be the case in order to provide guidance and support, and to alleviate the pressure of having to coordinate groups of five people outside of class.

Akin to a film festival, each group wrote a review of the short film tying it to the issues raised in class. These reviews were available for attendees to read after the event, and can also be accessed here:

  1. The Silence
  2. Biidaaban
  3. Ahalya
  4. Paradise
  5. The Above