The See/Saw Film Festival will begin Friday, April 24, and hold screenings of several films and discussion panels with select films at the Lawrence Public Library and one at the Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union before concluding Sunday, April 26. This is the event’s first year and was started by doctoral students Sorcha Hyland, from Wexford, Ireland, and Maggie Beneke, from Princeton, Ill.
The festival will include films of many genres including documentaries, fictional narratives, animations, feature-length films, short films and local films. The films will primarily target adult audiences, but a family movie night is scheduled for Friday at the Lawrence Public Library, featuring the film “Song of the Sea,” an Oscar-nominated animation from Ireland, with a discussion panel for kids with a character from the movie.
The films cover a variety of topics that range from teenagers facing tough economic times to inspirational stories of overcoming the odds. Hyland said the film festival is meant to be a campus community event, and to focus on that rather than on poverty or disability, which are the two main themes of the films that will be shown.
“It’s about inclusivity and what it means to grow up in the 21st century,” Hyland said.
Hyland said the stereotype of poverty and sadness is a correlation that is made far too often today in society, and it’s an issue that will be addressed through the See/Saw Film Festival.
“Whether you’re white and privileged or black and privileged — or wherever you come from — at some point, you will experience struggle, and it’s how children and young people navigate and deal with struggle that we want to focus on,” Hyland said. “It’s also how your community supports you or doesn’t support you in navigating that struggle.”
At 14 years old, Kenneth Young was arrested in Florida on four counts of armed robbery and sentenced to four consecutive life sentences a year later. The film brings you inside the life of Young, now 24, and his struggle for redemption. The film includes interviews with Young, his family and civil rights workers as they fight for Young’s rights and against an unjust system.
Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury First Prize for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival last year, “Rich Hill” is a documentary surrounding the lives of three young boys Andrew, 14, Appachey,13, and Harley,15, who reside in the small town of Rich Hill, Mo., and are struggling in different ways. Andrew is dealing with the loss of his mom; Appachey is struggling with having to repeat the sixth grade, but has big dreams of becoming an art teacher in China when he grows up; and Harley is moved in with his extended family because his mom is in prison.
Lauduree is a 13-year-old loner who is passionate about nature and natural disasters and is forced to live with her grandma when her mom abandons her. Lauduree’s grandma is a fiery nurse with a personality fueled by alcohol. The two are clashing personalities who don’t see eye-to-eye, but have to learn to trust each other as the future unfolds.
Darius Goes West
Darius Weems is a teenager who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and resides in Athens, Ga. He has big dreams of going west to get his wheelchair customized on the MTV show Pimp My Ride, as well as to spread awareness and raise money for research of the disease. This documentary follows Darius on his journey west, as he is leaving his hometown for the first time.
— Edited by Mitch Raznick