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WMU profs' film screened at Waterfront Festival

June 14, 2007

KALAMAZOO--A short film by two Western Michigan University professors was recently screened at the Waterfront Film Festival.

"Vol. 3. Illegal Art," a short film by two faculty members in the WMU School of Communication, was shown Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, at the four-day festival in Saugatuck, Mich., in the Michigan Film Lodge, which features Michigan filmmakers. Now in its ninth year celebrating independent film and filmmakers, the Waterfront Film Festival is one of the leading destination film festivals in the Midwest, regularly hosting Midwest premieres of Academy Award-winning and nominated documentaries.

Drs. Rebekah Farrugia and Jennifer Machiorlatti, WMU assistant professor and associate professor of communication, respectively, produced "Illegal Art" as part of the "Copyright, Culture (remixed)" series. The series is a volume set of short films that explore the impact that increasingly restrictive copyright laws have on fair use and the creation of culture. They underline the ways in which creativity is, and will continue to be, hindered if current, excessive intellectual property policy continues.

The "Illegal Art" episode features the traveling art show "Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age" during an exhibit at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood in Hollywood, Fla. Curated by Carrie McLaren, the multimedia show illustrates the gray areas of U.S. copyright law and "fair use" which is essential to artists' abilities to both critique and create culture. Works in the exhibit include remixed CNN footage of George W. Bush and the Teletubbies, Barbie Dolls in blenders and Heidi Cody's "American Alphabet."

"We were especially proud of being selected to be part of the Michigan Film Lodge, because it allows Michigan filmmakers to gather and exchange ideas about our productions, the state of the film industry in Michigan and recent efforts to attract more film production from out of state to boost the economy," Machiorlatti says.

Other screenings of "Illegal Art" include the Can Indie Film Festival in Toronto, the Hawaii Arts and Humanities Conference in Honolulu and the University Film and Video Association conference in Orange, Calif. It was selected as one of six finalists to launch Docupyx on the Pyxix Documentary Web channel at www.docupyx.com.

Farrugia researches gender and popular music and was recently invited to submit an essay on music sampling for Vague Terrain, a digital arts quarterly with monthly audience of more than 10,000 viewers. Her work has appeared in "The Journal of Popular Music Studies."

Machiorlatti has screened films at the Dallas Video Festival, the International Women's Festival and the Big Muddy Film Festival. She researches women in film and video and is in production on a feature documentary on indigenous women in film and video.

Farrugia and Machiorlatti's multimedia installation "Outsider Outside/her" was exhibited in the Photon Flow exhibit at the Glass Curtain Gallery in Chicago in summer 2005.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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