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Midwest film conference to be held at Notre Dame

Theresa Civantos | Friday, April 11, 2008

This weekend, Notre Dame will welcome students from across the Midwest in its second annual Midwest Undergraduate Film Conference.

The program will run from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Thirty participants from 12 different Midwestern universities will present papers on different film genres. Papers range from topics with titles such as “Dangerous Women” to “Tales of the Uncanny” to “Heroes and Anti-Heroes.”

“We’re probably the only undergraduate film conference in the nation,” said Film, Television and Theater (FTT) professor Christine Becker, co-organizer of the event.

Becker said this conference is unique for its emphasis on undergraduate research.

“Almost all conferences are geared to professors and grad students, but Notre Dame is a place that really inspires undergraduate research,” she said.

Although the conference is only in its second year, Becker said, it gradually has become well known.

“It was started last year by Pamela Wojcik,” said Becker. “It was such a success we decided to try it again.”

Becker also said the conference has since gained increasing recognition in academic circles as well.

“There are more submissions this year than there were last year, and we even got submissions from schools we didn’t necessarily solicit. Also, two participants who did it last year are doing it again this year, so they must have liked it,” Becker said. “Awareness and recognition of the conference is definitely growing.”

Notre Dame professors will moderate the student presentations.

“The moderators are exclusively FTT faculty,” said Becker.

Becker said Wojcik was inspired to start the conference while teaching an FTT Honors seminar last year.

“This is more advanced academic work that’s beyond the usual,” Becker said.

The conference, Becker said, gives undergraduate students the unique opportunity to share their research with their peers.

“One purpose of the conference was to get our undergraduate scholars to see each other’s work,” Becker said. “It’s incredibly gratifying to not only show your work but also collaborate and learn from other people’s. It makes the academics very rewarding for the students.”