All roads lead to Rome…Georgia, that is. Last weekend, the city hosted the eleventh annual Rome International Film Festival, otherwise known as RIFF, in the heart of downtown Rome.

Members of the JSU Film Club made the hour-long journey to Georgia for Thursday’s opening night films.

To start the weekend off, the Rome Symphony Orchestra opened with a selection of works from movies and their soundtracks.

Before they put away their instruments for the weekend, they accompanied Charlie Chaplin’s Work, a silent film that kicked off a weekend full of celebrating cinema. The black-and-white, silent classic was followed by An Ode to Love, an animated short created by a New Zealander about a man living on a deserted island who finds love in the strangest of places Audiences then got a peak into the life of a beekeeper in A Passion of Gold and Fire, a documentary short by a Belgian filmmaker. The final film of the evening was Mousse, a Swedish comedy about a man fed up with living as a second-class citizen.

Macon Prickett, a JSU senior who attended the festival, said,“It was fantastic. The theater, this festival, the whole ambiance of Rome—it was charming. They picked one of the best areas in the south to have a film festival.”

Michael Panik, a senior at Jacksonville State and aspiring filmmaker, said, “RIFF was entirely unassuming. Who’d have thought they could cram so many great films from so many countries in one theater over four days in little old Rome, Georgia?”

Panik and his younger brother, a student attending UAB, are in the process of producing their very own documentary film, Thrift Store Symphony.

Among those in attendance of RIFF was Jalisa Williams, a junior who has already been on location in Atlanta several times for filmmaking.

“It was great I hate I didn’t get to attend the entire festival…“It gave me a rush to go create something amazing with my team. It made me excited for the film club. I can’t wait for what’s in store this year,” said Williams.

The JSU Film Club plans to become much more heavily involved in local filmmaking Attending festivals in the surrounding areas is one of the first steps they are taking to ensure students are not only receiving a quality education and learning the ropes of the industry, but making the real-world connections they need as well.

The film club meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Longleaf Studios in Jacksonville, where they watch independent films, discuss them, and plan projects of their own.

Alex McFry
Staff Reporter

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