Students #GetReel About Living for Others


Students submitted short films for the #GetReel Film Festival for Ignatian Week (COURTESY OF ERIN HOFFMAN)


Ignatian Week at Fordham University creatively celebrated the Jesuit tradition of selflessness and concern for the world outside oneself through a week of events run by Campus Ministry. Among the many events, there was a carnival, an escape the room activity, trivia about the Jesuits, and a student film festival. At the #GetReel film festival, students embraced their love of art and social justice in order to showcase their unique takes on what it means to live for others.

Students from both Lincoln Center and Rose Hill submitted seven films, each under five minutes. The festival was a beautiful and humbling event where artists were free to talk about the people they care for and how they used art to capture it. Antonio de Loera-Brust of America Magazine came to help judge the event. In his introduction he claimed that “stories create the best weapon against injustice, and that tool is empathy.” At this event, the students learned to empathize with one another and their greater community through student films.

Carmen Barca-Carrillo (FCLC ’20) attended the festival and commented, “I think that bringing art and social justice together makes both more palatable. Art is often incomprehensible to most people, and social justice can be too harsh to be accepted in its unfiltered form. Art based on social justice creates a more accessible version of art that also strikes a compelling chord in terms of social justice.”

The festival was successful in showing issues of social justice through the eyes of the students and gave the audience a perspective which they would never have gained in another way.

Ironically, first place was awarded to “Fifth”, a short film by FCLC Freshman Kieran Press-Reynolds. The film followed a cross country runner who trains vigorously not to make it on the podium, but to better contribute to his team’s score. “When I first saw the prompt, I immediately thought of running. I’ve been doing cross country for six years; it’s a sport that demands the most dedicated and caring athletes,” explained Press-Reynolds. “Fifth” affected the audience so strongly because it ties so closely to how it feels to work for justice. Making change starts with oneself, and people often don’t reap the benefits of their actions. That is the price of living for others.

There were three judges for the film festival. Antonio de Loera-Brust, Emma Quinn (FCLC ’20) and Father Vin, SJ. “It was interesting to look at the films through a critical lens. They were all unique takes on the prompt, and it was really inspiring to see all the different directions people ran,” claimed Quinn (FCLC ’20). She felt that “Fifth” particularly took a unique spin, and that it was very beautifully shot.

The student artists explored various themes through many mediums of art. The second-place winner, “Moving Bodies”, was a dance film in which Ailey students freed themselves of their labels and explored the question, “what would it be like if we were free to move just as bodies?” The students improvised their dance and the audience watched the freeing quality to simply being.

“We Regret to Inform You”, the third place winner, explored the idea that one must learn how to live for themselves before they can live for others by following a young man grieving his friend. The film was beautifully shot and explored the complexities of living internally versus taking an active role in the external world.

From the submission “Day One”, the audience learned that living for others is a simple choice which starts by doing little things to brighten others days. Another pair of students took inspiration from their floormates, and submitted how the small acts of love they see on their floor embodies the Jesuit ideal of caring for the other.

The Commuting Student Association (CSA), inspired by the television show, “The Office”, created an introductory video about how the CSA reaches out to commuting students who are often excluded from the college environment. In the humorous short, they showed how they created a loving and understanding environment for commuting students.

Finally, in a spoken word piece, a student stood in a church and explored what living for others meant by starting with herself. Living for others means loving others, and she showed that love ought to show itself in deeds more than words. Her ideas were reminiscent of the quote attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.”

Each of these films gave a different but insightful take on living for others. It is self-sacrifice, acceptance, the little things that brighten people’s days, inclusion and the cornerstone of this Jesuit university. Ignatian Week helped students learn more about the values of Fordham University and share about the impact the Ignatian ideals have had on their lives.