“For The Love Of Dog Film Festival Screening”

 

 

Students sit in the Great Hall to watch Joe Camp’s Benji movie on Sept. 19, 2018, at Pierce College, in Woodland Hills, Calif. Photo by David Tejada.

 

The Department of English and Philosophy opened it’s bi-annual Interdisciplinary Film Festival last Wednesday at the Great Hall. This year’s theme being titled “Anthropomorphism: For the Love of Dog.”

Opening the festival was 1974’s Benji, a film that follows a stray dog who saves two kidnapped children.

Watching the opening film in excitement was Psychology Professor Melanie McQuitty. “‘Benji’ is a childhood favorite of mine,” she said. “It’s really a feel-good movie. Even though it’s a kid’s movie it makes you happy when you watch it.”

Graphic design major, Jordan Brown, was also in attendance for the screening and was happily surprised that his longing for extra credit turned into an interest in film.

“I thought ‘Benji’ was a bit minimalistic, but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” Brown said. “At first I just wanted to get out of the house and needed the extra credit but after seeing Benji I think I’m going to be at the next screenings.”

According to McQuitty, she works with other professors to pick a theme for the festival, often times relevant to what’s happening in the world today.

“We invite other instructors like Ken Windrum from the film department and Jennifer Moses from the psychology department. Every semester we come together and pick a theme. This year’s theme is titled Anthropomorphism: For the Love of Dog. It’s the year of the dog so we thought we’d pay tribute to fuzzy friends,” McQuitty said.

White God, is a film follows a stray dog who joins a canine revolt after failing to find his beloved owner.

“It’s highly disturbing,” McQuitty said. “It’s a difficult watch for dog owners but it’s a revenge film so there’s a payoff and I thought the contrast between this and the feelgood nature of ‘Benji’ would be really interesting.”

Closing the festival is Wes Anderson’s 2018 animated  film, Isle of Dogs, a film that follows a boy’s odyssey in search of his lost dog in a Dystopian Japan.

“I saw it six months ago and it’s just such a beautiful little movie,” McQuitty said. “I just couldn’t resist showing it. It’s just too charming.”

According to McQuitty, The relationships between humans and animals play a vital role in the plotlines of both films

“From ‘Benji’ to ‘Isle of Dogs,’ each film builds on the anthropomorphism more and more. Throughout the series we explore themes of racism and socio-economic discrimination,” McQuitty added.

English ESL Department Chair Brad Saenz, a fan of film, extrapolated on how the messages presented have a broader meaning to students.

“I think the value of film in this particular series is that it reflects the bigger picture that is human behavior and cultural values,” Saenz said.

The next film in the series “White God” is set to screen at the Great Hall on Friday Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m. with “Isle of Dogs” following on Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m.