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Resident Filmmaker Screens Documentaries

Zita Petrahai ‘18, Managing Editor

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Documentary filmmaker Erin Hudson began her weeklong residency at Dickinson College on Tuesday night, March 7, with a film screening of two of her documentaries, Afloat and Our Time is Now.

Hudson currently works as an independent director, producer, editor and cinematographer and is the founder of a documentary film production studio, Rotation Films. Her films have been screened world-wide and have received a myriad of awards.

Afloat is a short movie lasting just over five minutes. It features people at a senior community swimming pool. Hudson shot the film during her graduate school studies at Stanford University. She maintained that she created the movie in honor of her grandmother whom, according to Hudson’s website, was one of the main reasons Hudson became a documentary film maker.

According to Hudson, Afloat “was a dream job…” The short received several awards, including the Director’s Choice Award at the Black Maria Film Festival and the Best Student Film Award at the Terra Nova Film in 2006.

Hudson also screened Our Time is Now, a documentary film directed and produced by Hudson in collaboration with LittleGlobe, an organization that is “committed to interdisciplinary, collaborative arts projects…,” according to their website. LittleGlobe describes Our Time is Now as “a coming-of-age documentary following six rural New Mexican teenagers as they strive to finish high school, wrestle with personal challenges, and pursue their dreams.”

Dickinson students responded positively to Hudson’s films. Clarke Forum supervisor Sam Weisman ’18 described the films as “beautiful documentaries… Afloat… was a beautifully composed break from midterms.” 

Rowan Humphries ’19 believes that “[Our Time is Now’s] focus on the good, mundane, and at times ugly aspects of growing up will instill a deep feeling of resonance in anyone who watches it.   

Hudson said that “For me to be able to show you the state that I love… is just a great privilege.” She also stated that although she has tried to keep in touch with the teenagers, it has been a challenge at times.

“….sometimes I log onto Facebook just to make sure [the participants in the documentary] are doing all right.”

According to the Clarke Forum’s website, Hudson’s residency also included a keynote lecture on Wednesday, March 8. The event took place in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium and was titled “Inviting Empathy through Documentary Filmmaking.” As of print time, Hudson was scheduled to discuss her process of storytelling and how she finds, receives, shares and engages stories focusing on human dignity, vulnerability, and emotional truths.

Hudson’s residency was sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues, a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Departments of English and German, and the Film Studies Program. The event was also part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Media, Technology and Civic Engagement.

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Resident Filmmaker Screens Documentaries