Bright Lights to feature student short films

by Cathleen Cusachs / Beacon Staff • February 23, 2017

Students who dream of watching their work on the big screen can now see their short films screened before films like Arrival and Moonlight.

Interested community members can submit works under 10 minutes online to Bright Lights, the free screening series hosted by the visual and media arts department. If chosen, their short will be paired up with a feature film and screened to a public audience during the semester, according to Anna Feder, director of programming.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time,” Feder said. “I thought it would be a good way to show more Emerson community work, not just the work of current students but also alumni, faculty, and staff.”

Feder said she never had the capacity or resources to put this together until Wesley Emblidge, a senior visual and media arts major, joined the Bright Lights team.

“He has an interest in curating, some experience with it, and it seemed like a really great capstone-kind-of project for him,” Feder said. “The department ended up funding a couple of extra hours for him to manage it. The idea would also be something really great for his resume.”

Emblidge has been assistant facilitator of Bright Lights for three semesters. He said he has most of the shorts chosen already, but is still looking for more submissions to match with the remaining scheduled films.

“It’s tricky because you don’t want to do a disservice to either of the films showing, the short or the feature,” Emblidge said. “You want to make sure they work well together. Sometimes that’s really hard.”

One of the screenings, a documentary on the Newtown school shooting, was particularly hard to find a match for, Emblidge said. He eventually chose another documentary, a lighthearted short on a woman who does aquatic rehabilitation on dogs.

“It’s not always very straightforward, plot-wise,” Emblidge said. “I chose it for the reason that it’s uplifting and a nice short about a woman who works for dogs. It’s kind of the idea of a palate cleanser before you’re about to watch this pretty harrowing movie.”

The requirements for submission are flexible, but necessary, Emblidge said. The clip must be created by a current student or faculty member or a recent graduate from the last two years. Median and Vimeo are the two preferred mediums for submission, but Emblidge said he’s also looking at videos from the Emerson Film Festival. The current deadline is Feb. 28.

“The big motivation behind it for everyone involved is to have another place for Emerson student, faculty, and staff work to be showcased on a big screen,” Emblidge said. “You can count on your hand the number of times you can get your work screened in the Bright. Since we have the space every Tuesday and Thursday, we figured it’s a great way to get the work out there.”