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    Students, Alumnus Contribute to Upcoming Film Festival

    Colorado College has three connections to this year’s Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival, scheduled for Nov. 13-15.

    Films by two student filmmakers, Francesca Mastrianni ’18, a film and media studies major, and Jillian Banner, a visiting student from Carleton College, have been accepted into the 2015 festival. Additionally, the event includes an exclusive screening of “Sherpa,” Jennifer Preedom’s film which features the high-altitude cinematography of Renan Ozturk ’02, who served as director of photography.

    Mastrianni’s 8-minute film, “Labor of Love,” chronicles the experiences of two very different Arkansas Valley farmers; one a fourth-generation farmer, the other in his first year of farming. Banner’s 9-minute film, “Life by the Horns,” explores the world of professional rodeo clowns. Both films were created in Colorado College’s two-block summer course, The Colorado Documentary Project, taught by Assistant Professors of Film and Media Clay Haskell and Dylan Nelson. The two films will be shown in the same viewing block at the festival, which starts at 9:15 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 15, in the Celeste Theatre in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    CC’s Colorado Documentary Project is dedicated to gripping storytelling, original research, and community-building through the production and distribution of documentary films about the region. Mastrianni worked with the Arkansas Valley Growers Association and the local Venetucci Farms, and Banner worked with the ProRodeo Hall of Fame to help find their stories.

    Ozturk, a biology major who discovered his passion for climbing while at CC, is fluent in Nepali, a globally recognized expedition climber, landscape artist, and filmmaker. He was one of the cinematographers for “Meru,” a documentary about the first ascent of the “Shark’s Fin” route on Meru Peak in the Indian Himalayas.

    “Sherpa,” a 96-minute documentary, is Ozturk’s first Everest climbing/filming trip. The director set out to uncover tension in the 2014 Everest climbing season from the Sherpas' point of view, and instead captured a tragedy when an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpas. The film shows how the Sherpas united after the tragedy in the face of fierce opposition. The 96-minute film is part of a double-feature that opens with “Duke Riley Goes to China” at 7 p.m.; Sherpa is scheduled to start at 8:20 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Celeste Theatre in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

    The Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the country dedicated solely to films by and about women; it is very selective and highly regarded in the national film community. The festival takes place at Colorado College venues and the nearby Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.