RowanDOCS presents online student film festival May 8-10

RowanDOCS presents online student film festival May 8-10


It’s never easy making a complete film during a school year, and that’s especially true for one nearly cut in half by a global pandemic.

And yet, while COVID-19 has decimated many of America’s most stalwart institutions, including the film and television industries, students in Diana Nicolae’s documentary film classes completed four film projects on time and with stunning results this spring. And now they’re showing them off.

Nicolae, an accomplished film director and producer in her own right, led 17 students through the completion of the documentaries, which will screen during a virtual film festival May 8-10.

This year’s online premiere will feature:

City of Sisterly Love, which tells the story of Philadelphia drag performers through their own experiences and struggles (produced by Eric Posey, Austin Simmons, Marissa Armandi, James Molloy and Gary Panter);

The Mayor, a film about 15-year old Travis, whose deafness since birth provides no match for his innate will to succeed (produced by Paisley Blair, Claire McKissick, Kyle Foor, Taylor Corson and AnnaRose Rubright);

Bigorexia, the story of a young man wrestling with a condition sometimes referred to as "reverse anorexia," in which individuals believe, no matter how much muscle they pack on, that their body is still too small (produced by Jodi Moser, Victoria Todorova, Frank Villarreal and Samuel Kramer);

9/12: Up From the Ashes, which depicts the pain and trauma of some people who remain, nearly 20 years later, gravely impacted by the 9/11 attacks (produced by Ben Lombardo, Zeid Aberra and Bryce Tripodi).

“I am very proud of what my documentary students accomplished, despite the difficulties they had to confront to tell their stories, and the flexibility and strength they showed to complete these films and bring them to the public,” said Nicolae, a full professor in Radio, Television & Film within Rowan University’s Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts. “At times like this we need stories like these to inform, entertain and unite us more than ever.”

Her students’ films typically screen each May at King Auditorium within Bozorth Hall but Nicolae believes that holding an online screening will provide an intimate, rewarding experience for viewers.

“The films will be available for free but any donations will be used to help the films reach a wider audience with film festivals and other distribution costs and support the production of future RowanDOCs films,” she said.

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