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Rice to present diversity film contest

By Kaylen Strench & Nicolette Groen     1/13/14 6:00pm

This spring, Rice University will host its first annual Diversity Film Contest. The competition, which is meant to feature films that address what diversity looks like at Rice, is open to all Rice students, faculty and staff to reflect the complexity of the Rice community.

David Medina, one of the organizers, said the competition is a way to discover how Rice's diversity can be interpreted in many different ways.  

"Rice is one of the most diverse private schools in the country, and we wanted to showcase that," Medina, Rice's director of multicultural community relations, said. "Each person has a different concept of diversity, and that's a very interesting concept to explore. For instance, I'm particularly interested in ethnic diversity, but there's also gender diversity, religious diversity, etc." 



Though all students can participate, submissions must be films of 15 minutes or less that are classified as "fictional" or "documentary." Medina said the organizers chose to make the competition a film contest because film is such a popular and accessible medium.

"Films have become so popular," Medina said. "Since almost everyone likes watching videos, films are a popular medium to capture diversity. People are just more into film than reading and writing. This way, we can attract a much larger audience."

According to Medina, the judges of the contest have not yet been chosen but will be knowledgeable about film and will look at technical and stylistic details as well as creativity. Specifically, they will judge the content's creativity, clarity of expression and relevance to the contest's theme. However, Medina said he encourages all students and faculty to apply.

"The judges do want something really well done," Medina said. "[However], the competition's not limited to just film majors. We encourage all people who are interested in film to apply. It's a great opportunity for student clubs who need money and faculty members who want to show off their skills."

The competition's website features several resources for those who may lack cinematic experience but who still want to participate.  For instance, contestants can visit the Rice Digital Media Commons, which offers services to help novice moviemakers, including equipment and training courses.

Medina said the organizers are hoping for a large number of participants for this first year of the contest.

"I really encourage people to participate," Medina said. "We want to see as many films as we can portraying what makes Rice great, the most significant element being concepts of Rice's diversity."

The official rules of the contest state that films must be no longer than 15 minutes. Submissions are due Monday, March 15 at 5 p.m. Winners may receive up to $2,500 in prize money.

The competition is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Rice Media Center and Multicultural Community Relations in the Office of Public Affairs. More details about the competition can be found at rice.edu/filmcontest.



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