Castleton kicks off film fest

Film Professor Michael Talbott and French Professor Armelle Lescarbeau introduce the first film of the Castleton International Film Festival to students and community members.

Castleton students, faculty and community members streamed into Herrick Auditorium Tuesday to watch the award winning French film “Declaration of War.”

This movie premier marked the opening night of Castleton’s International Film Festival put on by Castleton communication professor Michael Talbott.

Talbott moved to Vermont from Los Angeles and found himself disappointed by the lack of foreign film screenings – so he decided to do something about it.

“Watching a movie projected with an audience is so much different than watching films at home,” said Talbott.

After being inspired by Spanish professor Ana Alexander’s film festival, Talbott decided to follow suit.

The festival will feature six movie screenings. The first, “Declaration of War,” was directed and written by Valérie Donzelli, who also played the main character. The movie was an overall hit with Tuesday’s crowd.

“Foreign films see things differently. The stories are much more human and down to earth,” said communication professor Robert Wuagneux. “I really liked this movie.”

Fellow professor, Burnham Holmes, was very moved by the film.

“I haven’t cried this much in years,” he said. “This film blew me away. I plan to come see all of them.”

The film festival will have another returning fan.

“It was awesome that Talbott was able to bring foreign films to campus. I’ll probably go to another one,” said Castleton student Olivia Maher.

Senior communication student Jake Covell agrees.

“It’s cool to see Castleton making an effort to have a film festival. I hope it expands,” he said.  

But Communication professor Sanjukta Gosh and student Cassie Harnett couldn’t quite get past the film’s soundtrack.

“I thought the music was jarring and manipulative,” Ghosh said.  

“I agree with Sanjukta, the music was distracting,” said Harnett. “But otherwise I liked the movie, it had an overall great message”

Talbott hopes this festival will be an annual event on Castelton’s campus. Next year he plans to show movies from all over the world.

As for the first night, Talbott said he wishes students would have contributed more to the discussion following the film. He hopes people will continue to come watch these films each week.

“Overall, I think it turned out really well,” said Talbott.

The next five screenings will take place in Herrick Auditorium throughout March. “In The House” will be shown on March 10 starting at 6:30 p.m. For a full list of screenings visit Castleton’s website.



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