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Digi-EYE allows students to showcase view behind the lens

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A still from one of David Goodwin's short films. The Digi-EYE showcase will run in the Performance Hall of Thurber Theatre from Jan. 24-25. Credit: David Goodwin

A still from one of David Goodwin’s short films. The Digi-EYE showcase will run in the Performance Hall of Thurber Theatre from Jan. 24-25.
Credit: David Goodwin

The performance hall of Thurber Theatre is set to transform into a film house during the third Digi-EYE Film/Video Showcase to offer students the chance to share their digital media works on the big screen.

The showcase is set to feature approximately 25 short pieces created by 18 Ohio State students. The pieces range from one minute to nine minutes in length, said Janet Parrott, associate professor in the OSU Department of Theatre and coordinator of Digi-EYE.

“There’s a big variety of work,” Parrott said. “Some (pieces) seem a little experimental, others are documentary and others may be a little more along the narrative line … (The audience) will see a wide range of (live action) work and animation.”

Parrott said the name of the showcase is indicative of the changing technology within the film industry.

“It just means digital eye. Which refers to a camera lens … a camera eye, the cinema eye,” she said. “It’s what students are seeing.”

Parrott said although new technologies allow viewers to enjoy films in a myriad of ways, the opportunity for students to watch their work on a big screen through a high-quality lens is incomparable.

“(Students) are able to put things on the Internet, they’re able to look at things on computers and take things and show their friends,” she said. “But to be able to project it with a very nice projector and lens and see it really large on the screen in front of an audience is really important for students to get that kind of reaction to their work, to get feedback from the audience.”

David Goodwin, who graduated from OSU in May 2013 with a degree in film studies and a minor in video arts, said he is not sure which of his pieces will be displayed at the Digi-EYE showcase this weekend but predicts that it will be his narrative/short piece titled “Passing.”

Goodwin said he was inspired to create “Passing” after his aunt and a close friend’s mother passed away from cancer.

“It was a very personal piece for me,” he said.

Goodwin explained that “Passing” is an entirely wordless piece and a “brief reflection on how grief is re-occurring.”

“When (the audience) watches (‘Passing’), I hope that they leave with some sense of emotion,” he said. “(Grief) is something that you can’t really put in words and that’s why it’s in a wordless film … (Film) is being able to visualize what you can’t say in words.”

Goodwin said he participated in last year’s Digi-EYE showcase and it was a “really cool” experience.

Other students are returning to Digi-EYE to present new works. Thomas Heban, a third-year graduate student in digital animation and interactive media, said he is returning to the showcase this year to take advantage of the opportunity to share his work with a larger audience.

“A lot of these (projects) start out as an assignment,” Heban said. “But it is also motivating to think about showing your work to a larger audience, especially for the more personal works.”

Heban is slated to show two live action documentaries, one shadowing a dancer in the OSU motion capture lab and the other featuring his mother’s side of his family.

“(The one featuring the dancer) is called ‘Støv,’” Heban said. “I was able to layer in digital effects with the footage of the dancer, so I was able to abstract her movement by using layered digital effects. I would make everything a soft focus so I could really capture the dancer’s movements.”

Heban explained that the title takes its name from the Danish word for dust, which alludes to the visual presence of dust particles in the film footage.

Heban’s second documentary is titled “Mom’s Side.”

“I did some interviews with my mom and also with my grandma and my sister,” he said. “It is really personal work, but it is kind of exploring that side of the family.”

Heban said he hopes viewers are able to make a personal connection with both of his films.

“I think the documentary with my mom should strike a chord with a lot of people,” he said. “(Through) the other piece, I hope people gain an understanding of the enjoyment of human movement and dance that maybe they did not have an appreciation for beforehand.”

Although many students such as Goodwin and Heban are returning to Digi-EYE, other students are making their film debut at this showcase.

Maggie Bissler, a third-year graduate student in ethnomusicology, has submitted one documentary piece to her first Digi-EYE showcase this year.

Bissler said she filmed her documentary while on a trip to Nicaragua. Her piece centers on the tradition of dance in the annual Maypole celebrations in that region.

“My piece is called ‘Bluefields,’” Bissler said. “(It is) a conversation between two neighborhood dance group organizers, one who is protecting the traditions that the region is known for and the other from the next neighborhood over who wants the Maypole dance to be open to individual expression.”

Bissler said she is excited to show her documentary and hopes viewers will leave with a new outlook on expression of culture and tradition.

“I am excited to get to show a new group of people footage from Nicaragua,” she said. “(I hope viewers realize) expression of culture is messy and it is contested and no culture is monolithic … you ultimately see a Maypole that is inclusive to both positions.”

The Digi-EYE Film/Video Showcase is scheduled to be held in Thurber Theatre, located in the Drake Performance and Event Center Friday and Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. both days. Admission is free.

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