World Cinema Day connects Wisconsin high school students to the world
Several hundred Wisconsin high school students and teachers will be in Madison April 13, 2007 to participate in World Cinema Day. World Cinema Day is an outreach program of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Language Institute and Arts Institute, presented in conjunction with the Wisconsin Film Festival.
The goal of World Cinema Day is to promote understanding of world cultures by bringing quality international cinema to Wisconsin high school students and teachers. This year, more than 300 students and teachers from eight Wisconsin high schools will participate in an educational screening of an Indonesian film entitled “Of Love and Eggs.”
Professor Ellen Rafferty, Chair of the Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, will introduce the film and the director, then lead a post-screening discussion with two UW–Madison graduate students from Indonesia. (For a complete listing of schools, see below.)
“‘Of Love and Eggs’ offers a colorful and touching picture of a faraway place, and the variety of Indonesian society is represented in the people whose lives revolve around a single marketplace,” says Wendy Johnson, coordinator of World Cinema Day. “The young viewer becomes aware of the unique aspects of another culture while being moved by the stories of the children in the film to recognize universal human themes of hope and love.”
The Wisconsin Film Festival has worked collaboratively since 2004 with the Language Institute to offer international cinema to young audiences. “It is a joy and responsibility to bring cinema to high school students outside of what commercial television and movies usually offer,” says Meg Hamel, director of the Festival. “If there is one teenager in the audience who, by watching a foreign film, discovers that there is a bigger world out there, then events like World Cinema Day are worth it.”
Participating high school teachers are enthusiastic about the educational value of World Cinema Day. A. Jay Lenz, chair of the World Languages Department at East High School, has come to the event since its inception. “Film is a powerful medium that is the most efficient way for a person to get a cultural immersion experience from the safety of his or her own environment,” Lenz states. “And having a UW–Madison faculty member at World Cinema Day helps our students understand the film on a higher level than they might otherwise,” he adds.
“World Cinema Day and the way it involves high school students allows student voices to be heard,” says David Hoon, an English teacher at Affiliated Alternatives in Madison. “It allows young people to be part of the greater community.” Students serve as advisory committee members for World Cinema Day.
Participating high schools include Janesville Academy for International Studies; Logan High School (La Crosse); Madison’s Affiliated Alternatives, East High School, Edgewood High School, and Work and Learn; Mt. Horeb High School; and Sparta Area Independent Learning School (SAILS).
Co-sponsors of World Cinema Day 2007 include the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, with generous support from the Brittingham Trust and the Schoenleber Foundation. The film “Of Love and Eggs” is offered courtesy of the Global Film Initiative as part of its Global Lens 2007 series.
The Language Institute promotes collaboration for research, education and community outreach in languages, literatures and cultures. The Language Institute is an initiative of the College of Letters and Science, with substantial support from the Division of International Studies.