UB Media Study department will present its annual student show online

Release Date: May 11, 2020

Portrait of UB media study professor Sama Waham.
“This year we have an opportunity for any student to connect creatively with others, to share stories and express themselves during this very trying time. ”
Sama Waham, assistant professor of media study
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Creativity often demands time, but the University at Buffalo Department of Media Study (DMS) had little more than a moment’s notice to translate the programming of its historically theater-based student show into a an online event.

The status of the annual display and judging of student work was uncertain as New York State on PAUSE forced the cancelation of non-essential gatherings. But DMS faculty decided to apply the lessons learned from its transition to distance learning.

Now, after a few weeks of planning, retooling and experimentation, The DMS Livestream Student Show 2020 is a reality. This year’s appropriately themed “Distant Connections” will be presented as a livestream on Wednesday, May 13, at 7 p.m.

A link to the live stream is still being finalized, but DMS will post the link soon on its Facebook page, along with audience voting instructions and other updates.

The redesigned, virtual presentation, which will feature more than 100 film and other projects, has also opened new categories this year in order to allow all UB students and university alums to participate.

“This year’s show is not just about showcasing students’ work and celebrating their talents,” said Sama Waham, an assistant professor in DMS and the director of the UBFilms internship program. “This year we have an opportunity for any student to connect creatively with others, to share stories and express themselves during this very trying time.”

The show accepts submission of projects made since 2018, but those from outside the department now eligible to submit work to the virtual festival had only weeks to develop their ideas. That work will be featured in the new categories of “short-scripts” and “one-minute mobile films” to increase accessibility by encouraging the use of simple and existing resources.

“The impact of working, preparing and programming this show with our students and watching others from outside the department display their creativity has been such a meaningful experience,” said Waham, an international award-winning director, producer and cinematographer. “People will not want to miss this show.”

Which is why it’s important to stress the nature of “Distant Connections” as a one-time live event. The program will not be available for download since publicly archiving the material could affect eligibility requirements for later submission to many film festivals, according to Waham.

Not only is the show being presented virtually, but the audience can vote for their favorite works online, with winners announced the following day on the DMS’ social media page.

There will be audience awards for Best One Minute Mobile Film, Best Narrative Film, Best Documentary, Best Experimental, and Best Media Project.

The UB Arts Collaboratory will present awards for Best Graduate Film and Best Undergraduate Film. Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center will present an award for Best Media Project. And DMS faculty will honor the Best Script, Best Film, and Best Media Project.

“Watching students and media interns grow into accomplished artists, programmers and curators themselves has been an unparalleled experience for me as a teacher and mentor, especially during a time when completing basic tasks has become a challenge with the sudden change in our daily routine,” said Waham.

“It has been a privilege and a remarkable journey for me to guide them through not only finding their own voice, but also helping each other out, and encouraging their peers and classmates to reach out, connect, tell and share their own stories, despite the distance and all the hardships that are limiting us today.”

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