It was an honour to be invited to attend the 2nd Annual Lake Champlain International Film Festival (LCIFF) this weekend, where my documentary '-1287' (WEBSITE) was screened. At the closing ceremony of the festival last night, I was extremely honoured to receive the People's Choice (Audience) Award. While jury awards are indeed a great honour, it is truly humbling to receive an audience award voted on by cinema-goers from among all the films screened.
Last year, I was able to attend the inaugural edition of the festival, where I received the 'Golden Honeycomb' (grand prize) for my films 'A2-B-C' (2013) and 'In the Grey Zone' (2012) (STORY). My attendance at the first two editions of the festival was made possible through the support of both the festival and of Plattsburgh State University (PSU). A graduate of the English Department (with a minor in theatre), it was my absolute pleasure to be asked to visit classes at my alma matar to share both about my work and life in Japan as well as how my education at the university prepared me for the films I make. Visiting six classes in all (Trauma Narratives, Food and Film, Autobiography, Outsiders, Mythology and Poetry), it was a wonderful experience to meet and speak with so many students. Their engaged and intelligent questions caused me to think about my own work in different ways, and I was reminded again that through teaching the teacher learns.
|with LCIFF staff member/ filmmaker Simon Conroy and PSU professor/ filmmaker Michael Devine|
The beautifully curated festival began on Friday and packed dozens of films into the three-day event. In between fascinating films from across the world, it was an additional pleasure to spend time with old friends, like former classmate/ filmmaker/ festival founding member Jason Torrance, former classmate/ -1287 producer Sarah Lushia, and former classmate/ festival staff member Maya Saroj (PHOTO below). Even the venue was nostalgic- held in the newly renovated Stand Theatre (INFO), this is where my European Films class came to watch films back in the day when the former vaudeville theatre had been haphazardly converted into a multi-screen cinema fire trap with sticky floors.
|with Jason, Sarah and Maya|
As the Lake Champlain International Film Festival staff works toward its 3rd edition and beyond, I wish them all the best. I am proud to be an alum of both the university and the festival, and look forward to all that is to come.