JCU Students and Alumni Shine at First Edition of MAXXI Video Essay Film Festival

Two John Cabot University students and a JCU alumna participated in the first edition of the Video Essay Film Festival held at the MAXXI, a national museum of contemporary art and architecture located in Rome, on July 7, 2020. The international festival was open to participants from universities, academies, and film schools from all over the world. 

Manuela Irena D’Orso

Manuela Irena D’Orso

A video essay is a piece of video content that, much like a written essay, advances an argument. Video essays take advantage of the structure and language of film to advance their arguments, providing a new form of critique and reflection on cinema through images, text, editing, and sound. The Maxxi Video Essay Film Festival is dedicated to this popular and innovative genre.

International Affairs and Communications student Manuela Irena D’Orso won first prize with her video essay called “Prostitution: Fiction vs. Reality. Alumna Devon Hyer, who majored in Communications and graduated in May 2019showcased her video called “The Evolution of Female Representation in Star Wars,” and visiting student Sandra Anic presented her video called “Feminist Characters in Film.”

Of the 15 entries showcased in the competition, three were from JCU students, and all were about feminist topics. This achievement is the result of JCU’s Communications department’s commitment to innovative digital media arts as part of its pedagogy, and the success and importance of gender studies. 

“All seniors in the Communications department are required to produce video essays, so we are at the cutting edge of media scholarship, and this really separates us from many other programs and universities,” said Professor Antonio Lopezdepartment chair. Visiting students also benefit from JCU’s communications program, as Sandra Anic’s entry in the competition shows.  

The Video Essay Film Festival jury was composed of Laura Delli Colli (President of Fondazione Cinema per Roma), Giovanna Melandri (President of Fondazione MAXXI), Giorgio Gosetti (Director of Casa del Cinema) and Camilla Nesbitt (producer).  

Thumbnail photo by Archeologo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0