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JMC to Host First Costa Rican Film Festival on May 9 in FirstEnergy

Posted May. 3, 2014

The Electronic Media Production program of JMC, in collaboration with the Department of Biological Costa Rica_OneSciences, will host its first Costa Rican film festival on Friday, May 9, from 5 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in First Energy Auditorium, 340 Franklin Hall.  "Documenting Costa Rica:  Making Movies, Leaving Imprints" will showcase the documentary films produced by several electronic media majors and Kent State students who participated in a study abroad assignment in Costa Rica over winter break.

The films of Courtney Citro, Neil Golias, Ashley Lain, Sam Lasko, Dylan Lusk, Matt Petrunak, Josh Quiros, Justin Rice, Paul Wiedt and Zachary Younkins will premiere at the festival.

These students spent 21 days in December and early January in Costa Rica, as part of a collaborative study abroad assignment led by Kent State biology professor, Dr. Oscar Rocha and journalism professor, David Smeltzer. The filmmakers joined 17 biology students and interviewed, filmed and edited short documentaries depicting the tropical biology and conservation of Costa Rica, a country that is about the size of West Virginia and contains an estimated 5 percent of the world's biodiversity.

The trip was the field part of the SCIENCE Documentary Film course offered this spring, which helped students learn the logistics, research techniques and cinematography skills needed to shoot digital film in the tropics. Students also learned location sound-recording skills and the interviewing skills necessary for documentaries.

For over 20 years, Dr. Rocha has been leading biology students to Costa Rica to study the country's diverse ecosystems. This is the first year that journalism students were included.  Together, students and faculty traveled to the dry forest of Palo Verde, the cloud forest of San Ramon, the rain forest of La Selva and the secluded beaches of Campanario. JMC students were required to do outreach and field work to support their individual research topics and their productions.Costa Rica_Four

JMC students worked closely with biology students Brianna Arko, Lindsey Dukles, Emily Cahill-Camden, Colleen Cosgrove, Emily Haft, Megan Johnson, Justine Kandra, Carrie Ritzler, Manuel Rocha, Sam Schwab, Brittany Stevanus, Amy Strandburg, Jessica Stuczynski, Gwyn Sullivan, Joshua Thurman, Stephanie Wilson and Theresa Wolanin, and biology graduate assistants Anna Ormistron and Dean Horton.

At the film festival, each student will have the opportunity to introduce his/her own documentary. Refreshments will be served at intermission.

"Costa Rica is a gorgeous country that must be protected," Smeltzer said. "The students can take pride in the fact that they are contributing to public education about this astonishing country. The films will take the audience from tropical rain forests to coral reefs; we hope our guests will enjoy the ride."

Rocha sees the educational value of this experience. "It is a privilege to introduce KSU students to the marvelous diversity of tropical ecosystems and the culture and history of Costa Rica," he said.

The event is free and open to the public.

Rotator:  Photo by Coutney Citro

Interior Photo One: Photo of JMC senior Matthew Petrunak and Kent State senior Ashley Lain.

Interior Photo Two: Photo of JMC senior Dylan Lusk by Manuel Rocha.