Academy Award-winner visits Carson-Newman

Mossy Creek Documentary Arts Festival

 

On Monday, March 4, Carson-Newman University welcomed Academy Award-winning director, Megan Mylan, to campus for a screening of her film “Smile Pinki.” Those in attendance included students, faculty, and members of the community.

“Smile Pinki,” which earned Mylan an Oscar for Best Documentary of 2008, tells the story of a five-year old girl from rural India. Impoverished and with a cleft lip, Pinki and her father make a journey that changes her life forever.

Megan Mylan“I try to find people going through once in a lifetime experiences and share their stories,” said Mylan in a question-answer session following the film.

“The film impacted my life,” said Rachel Hicks, a C-N Communication major. “It was one person’s story, but in some ways it was everybody’s story.”

“I appreciated the audience’s thoughtful, interesting questions,” said Mylan, following the event. “Students seemed excited and inspired by the story of Pinki.”

The film’s screening, held in the University’s Phoenix Theater, was part of the third annual Mossy Creek Documentary Arts Festival, a day-long event that featured documentary films, conversations with professional filmmakers, and a student photography competition.

“The students selected the theme ‘Revealing Hidden Stories’ for this year’s festival,” said Mark Borchert, director of Film Studies at Carson-Newman. “This year we showed films that allow us to encounter the lives of other people in unexpected ways. “

The event also included a presentation by Lauren Pond, a photojournalist whose images of a West Virginian snake-handling church were featured by the Washington Post; films by Nathan Clarke, a filmmaker for Christianity Today, and Larsen Jay, an accomplished filmmaker from the region; and speeches by C-N’s forensics team.

Borchert said he was pleased with this year’s event. “Over the course of the day we had over 500 seats filled,” noted the Communication Department chair. “But I think the real success of the festival was in the connections made between students and these master storytellers and their stories.”