With every new year comes new opportunities. For the Alliance for Community Enrichment, this means the start of new ways to spread messages of diversity and cultural awareness around campus. The ACE Film Festival achieved just that, displaying five culturally distinct films in Bailey Hall on Saturday Feb. 6. Unwilling to waver from ACE’s mission statement of promoting and encouraging “the growth of a diverse environment for all students in the Geneseo community,” the annual film festival saw some changes this year. Unlike previous years, the event was scheduled for the spring—not fall—and in the afternoon instead of the evening.
Additionally, ACE chose an eclectic variety of cultures to display in the five movies. The selected films were Babies, The Normal Heart, Four Sheets to the Wind, Bride and Prejudice and West Side Story. Each movie was given its own room within Bailey Hall. Viewers could select which movie they wanted to see and when; ACE played each film simultaneously in different rooms.
“We’re promoting this event by showing films that people wouldn’t normally watch on their own time—unless they were extremely curious about it—and I think it went really well,” Student Association Director of Student Affairs and ACE chair senior Jia Wen Zhu said. “We have over five cultures and lifestyles depicted in these films—it’s not just one culture. There’s more than five cultures, even though there are only five films.”
Sophomore Xiuna Lin agreed with Zhu’s sentiment on viewing the selected films. “It brings attention to those movies and their cultural diversity,” Lin said.
While Babies depicts one year of the lives of four babies from all around the world, The Normal Heart explicitly looks into LGBTQ+ issues in the 1980s, specifically focusing on the gritty reality of the AIDS crisis. Bride and Prejudice serves as the Bollywood-style adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, just as William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” inspired West Side Story to be its New York City counterpart. Lastly, Four Sheets to the Wind is a Native American film about protagonist Cufe, who leaves his Native American reservation for Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“You don’t really see that many Native American films on campus, so we thought [Four Sheets to the Wind] would be a good movie to show because there are Native Americans in Geneseo,” Zhu said. “It isn’t as if there are very few Native Americans on campus, so we wanted to do it for them.”
In between films, the audience was given a break to enjoy the food provided by ACE. Additionally, filmgoers could check out the posters advertising the nine clubs involved in ACE, including Black Student Union and Women’s Action Coalition.
“We have the posters outside as a sort of expo so that when the people watching the films come out for a break, they can see what clubs are in ACE and they can sign up if they want to attend them. It’s a nice boost for the clubs,” Zhu said. “We usually have a lot of people sign up, too.”
At the end of the event, ACE gave out free selfie sticks to their participants—although that won’t be the last time. For those who missed the ACE Film Festival, ACE will also be putting on Fashion Fest for a “night of Intercultural Fashion.”
“[Fashion Fest] is very similar to the Film Festival, except it is fashion, instead,” Zhu said. “[Both the Film Festival and Fashion Fest] are about showcasing each culture because ACE is like the hub for multicultural and special interest clubs. Anyone can come and enjoy themselves—from any culture—because that’s just what spreading diversity around campus is about.”
ACE’s Fashion Fest will take place at the Knight Spot on Feb. 20 from 5-7 p.m.