The Art of Film presents ‘Living in Oblivion’

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Sam Odom

The Art of Film is a monthly film series held at the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College. This month, it will present the film “Living in Oblivion,” directed by Tomas A. DiCillo. The November screening will be held on Sat., Nov. 23 at 6 p.m.

The film follows an independent filmmaker as he tries to make his first film in the midst of chaos. During production, he deals with difficult actors and crew members as he races with the clock to finish his film.

This monthly event is organized by Matthew Herbertz, the Assistant Professor of Film, and William Allen, Associate Professor of Digital Media. 

Herbertz explains that November’s film is a narrative film that plays with cliches while following the process of making a film. 

The film’s message is the idea that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

“When everything goes wrong then that character wakes up, and it starts over again and goes through the day on the set again through a different perspective from a different crew member, so it’s kind of fun and quirky,” Herbertz said.

Having a film series at a museum, explains Herbertz, already changes the way an audience will view film. Herbertz hopes to get people to examine and analyze the film much like they would analyze a painting in a gallery, therefore viewing film as art and critiquing it in a meaningful way. 

“It’s important for us to think of it as an artform that can have [a] huge impact,” Herbertz said. 

Herbertz hopes that The Art of Film can change how people perceive film, as well as further visual literacy to understand how film can affect the emotions and thoughts of an audience. 

Herbertz believes this film is one that can be enjoyed by many, since the film shows a comedic take on filmmaking while also shedding light onto the whole filmmaking process. 

He explains that while film should be viewed from an artistic perspective, the film playfully parodies filmmakers, and the film’s lighter tone is a nice break from other more serious topics.

“And that’s what I think the brilliance of the movie is it’s like ‘this is great, and it’s wonderful’ but let’s also kinda take a step back and kinda see how ridiculous it is,” Herbertz said. 

 Herbertz was inspired to start this 

monthly event because he has never seen an event that showcased film as an artform with an academic perspective, while also having it open to the public. 

“I’ve always wanted to bring what I think about, and what I talk about in the classroom to a community,” Herbertz said.

He mentions the range of participants that attend, varying in age and experience that are all tied together by an interest in film as an artform. He emphasizes that the event is a discussion, not a lecture as participants are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings about the film shown, no matter their experience.

  

Herbertz’s curation process is filled to the brim with intent as he considers many factors while deciding what films to show every month. 

He begins by first considering what exhibition is going on at the museum and then tries to find an element to replicate through the film he chooses. 

For the Polk Museum’s “Flashback Female: Women Artists in the 1990s from the Permanent Collection” exhibition he chose a film that had feminist ideals. 

Herbertz might also, rather than focusing on the content, focus on visual style and try to echo those stylistic choices in the film he chooses.

This is just one aspect of his decision making. He also considers who makes the film as well as the way in which the film is made.

“I really want to present work that is diverse from their creators. But also the kinds of work that’s being made too, that’s challenging in the way that it’s made,” Herbertz said. 

Professor Hebertz will also show films he believes to be moving or important, and show them to people who may have never heard of them.

This was the case for Junior Emily Wills, who went to October’s Art of Film event. October’s Art of Film screened Sun Don’t Shine directed by Amy Lynne Seimetz, a film that follows two young women as they travel the hot Florida landscape with something in the trunk of their car. 

 “Herbertz does an amazing job picking great films we’d miss or skip over otherwise,” Wills said. “It’s always more of an experience seeing a film on the big screen with an actual audience, and the discussions afterwards are casual but still really interesting. Plus it brings people from the community into conversation with students, so we get a lot of different perspectives.” 

Junior Sophie Talbert also attended the screening.

“It was a great experience being able to engage with the local community in a unique way,” Talbert said. “The film was incredible and raised important questions about theme and aesthetics.”

At the event itself, the film will be screened after a brief introduction by Herbertz, and once the film is over, Herbertz will lead the discussion afterwards. 

He will occasionally start with questions, but usually prefers to let the emotions and reactions of the audience direct where the discussion goes.

“Seeing how audiences connect [with] how movies are constructed formally and how that impacts how they experience it are always the most wonderful kind of discussions to have with the audience,” Herbertz said. 

Herbertz encourages people to attend The Art of Film because it’s about learning. 

The films he screens are usually about an hour and a half, and he invites everyone to take that time to experience new perspectives and engage with the community.

The next Art of Film will be held on Dec. 14 and it will screen the 1975 film “Mirror,” directed by Andrei Tarkovsky.

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