The interaction of news events and the journalists covering the events made up the focus of the first two films of the day. Another News Story, directed by Orban Wallace, follows the story of immigrants to Europe from the time they land on the Greek island of Lesbos as they work their way through various countries to find new homes in Germany. You may remember the events from the evening news, especially when Hungary closed its borders to immigrants creating a refugee crisis at the border with Serbia. The film also focuses on the news media that is covering the story. For many (most?), they are there doing a job. They’ll go home to a nice hotel each night and come back again tomorrow to film more. For some, it becomes an issue about if they should act as journalists or as humans. To what extent are the journalists using the suffering of people just to get a story? To what extent are they responsible for the suffering?
Playing with Another News Story was a twenty minute short doc, Fight for the First, directed by Sharon Liese. It covers journalism students who work at the Columbia Missourian as they cover a breaking story on the campus of the University of Missouri and a few other stories. This is not just a student newspaper. They are assertive in their role of reporting as a way of making sure facts and truth are available for the people—even if those they are covering want to stop them. Both of these films make reference to claims of “fake news” that have been leveled against the news media by the current American Administration.
Monday evening was the time for the Pacific Rim Showcase which featured films from The Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, and Australia. I chose the Australian film, The Pretend One, directed by Tony Prescott. It’s always nice at this point in a festival to have something with a lighter tone. Charlie lives with her father on a remote cotton farm in Queensland. Ever since she was six, Hugo has been her best friend. Now as a young woman, she and Hugo still do everything together. But Hugo is only an imaginary friend. When a flesh-and-blood rival turns up, Hugo, who is in love with Charlie, refuses to give up easily. He does his best to interfere with the courtship. How can he stop her from going with this man? And how can he not allow her the happiness of real-life romance? An entertaining look at just what love means.