ND Alum Gather for New Optics Film Festival (Day 1)

By: Allyson Roche ’19

Notre Dame is overflowing with creative talent, and on Friday April 20th, the community was able to see some of this talent in action. ND’s TV Production Department screened the senior projects in the lecture hall that evening. The event doubled as a night for alumni, as previously TV Production graduates were able to talk to current students about their work after viewing their films.

Attendees were able to see 9 short films including narratives, documentaries, and a music video.

Raffi Gris ‘18, cinematographer of “In Honor of Conor” and producer of “Wolf,” was very excited to finally see his work on the big screen. “It made me extremely proud to see my hard work pay off. Being able to work on a short film that I was truly passionate about made me forget about the 13 hour shoot days, or the sacrifices I had to make,” he said. “I now know what the process is really like, and I can confidently say that I want to make movies for the rest of my life.”

Emily Bradley ‘19, a student who attended the event, said “It was really cool to see what my fellow Knights had created during their time in Mrs. Harkins-James’s class. We have all come such a long way since when we started as underclassmen.”

TV Production teacher Mrs. Harkins-James, who organized the event, said “This was probably one of the best [festivals] we’ve done… I love seeing the students’ work.”

She organized the opportunity for current ND students to talk to alumni of NDTV after the films were screened. The alumni were able to talk to current students and the majority of them work in the industry, from producers, to media content director.

“Those are the moments as a teacher that you want to see. You want to see students engaging with people who are working in the industry and working jobs that they are interested in,” said Harkins-James.

From stories about outreach organizations, to uber drivers, there was an appreciation for storytelling that truly filled the air. As attendees piled out of the lecture hall after Day 1, Mrs. Harkins-James said she would be organizing a similar event next year as well.

“Seeing… the alums coming back and watching student films made [Day 1 of the festival] successful to me,” said Harkins-James.


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