SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Spring 2002)
Thunderbird International Film Festival
The second annual Thunderbird International Film Festival (TIFF) at SUU is slated for April 11-14.
The TIFF offers a base for broad studies of all aspects of filmmaking. Just after one season completed, it has provided a strong and valuable platform for one SUU student in particular to gain experience in organization, leadership and other skills necessary to succeed in the world of filmmaking.
Mariam Arthur, a 35-year-old divorced mother of three, came to the University two years ago, worked a year for the campus newspaper, then took on the assignment as assistant producer of a student-made film titled, Tragedy of Romance. She was galvanized by the experience. Arthur was determined to gain a degree in screenwriting, but there was no such program at SUU. She did not want to transfer to another school, so she designed her own bachelor of interdisciplinary studies degree by working with the departments of theatre arts and dance, communication, and social sciences, plus a bevy of extracurricular seminars and workshops.
Along the way, she established the Thunderbird International Film Festival, which, she says, is unique among this genre of events in the world. "While the Sundance Festival deals with 'edgy' films and the BYU Festival attracts LDS films, we seek films which, while not necessarily G-rated, do not promote lawlessness or violence in any way. We focus on films emphasizing family values, and guidelines established to create a morally-friendly atmosphere while allowing for variances in cultural values."
For details on how to submit work, the competition and awards, contact Mariam via the film festival website at www.thunderbirdfilmfestival.suu.edu
Arthur's goals include writing screenplays and making a career out of running the Festival. She says she'd also like to play a part in resurrecting the once-thriving business of filmmaking in southern Utah, where Hollywood productions were once plentiful.
The 2002 Festival will offer screenings of films all day Thursday through Saturday, at three venues, with an awards ceremony Saturday night. Dan Decker, author of Anatomy Of A Screenplay, will offer his seminar of the same name.
The TIFF is funded entirely by donations of sponsors and the entry fees of filmmakers. As an SUU event, all donations are tax deductible. To offer sponsorship, contact via the Film Festival website.