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The Skyline International Film Festival debuts at UNG

The student-run festival looks to educate, enhance and support filmmakers and students in UNG's film program by giving them hands-on experience..

The Skyline International Film Festival (SIFF), sponsored by the University of North Georgia (UNG), is coming to the Gainesville Campus April 22-23 and will feature a variety of films from UNG students and filmmakers from across the globe.

SIFF will be held at UNG's Gainesville Campus at the Ed Cabell Theatre and is open to the public. Weekend passes are $15 for the public and $8 for students, and day passes are $10 for the public and $5 for students. Passes can be purchased on the festival's EventBrite page.

The student-run festival looks to educate, enhance and support filmmakers and students in UNG's film program by giving them hands-on experience hosting a festival. Those attending will get a behind-the-scenes perspective of film production and the opportunity to meet up-and-coming filmmakers.

Of the more than 100 films submitted by UNG students, domestic and international filmmakers, 40 were selected for viewing during the festival. All the films were viewed and rated by students, faculty and working filmmakers for selection to be shown at the festival.

"This part of the festival planning is a great opportunity for students, because it allows them to participate in the festival selection process from the other side," said Dr. Jeff Marker, head of the Department of Communication, Media and Journalism at UNG. "When they submit films to other festivals, they will have a sense of the quality of their competition and what selection committees are looking for."

Films from six UNG students and faculty member Benjamin Garner will be shown Saturday, April 23 at 6:30 p.m. A question-and-answer session will be held after the films so all UNG filmmakers can discuss their work.

The screenings on Friday, April 22 begin at 2 p.m. with the film "Pechorin," by Roman Khrushch, and culminate Saturday with the gripping drama/thriller "Intersection" by Tim French. Friday night's festivities conclude with writer/director Bradley Bethel's documentary, "Unverified: The Untold Story Behind the UNC Scandal," which delves into higher education, athletics and academics, and the sports news media. Bethel will speak to attendees at noon on Friday about truth in documentary filmmaking.

Awards will be presented in a variety of categories, including direction, editing, writing, acting and cinematography. Two prizes will be awarded to student filmmakers for best student film and best student animation.

In fall 2015, UNG launched a bachelor's degree in film and digital media designed to prepare students to work in the film and television industry. That December, the first six degrees of this major were awarded and have already opened doors and developed new contacts in Georgia's exploding film industry.

"UNG's program offers students the latest in production and editing facilities, as well as the latest technology available. Our program is one of the most comprehensive in the state with many of our graduates ready to step directly into the workforce," Marker said. "With at least three to five short films, video projects and other assorted accomplishments that our graduating students are able to show prospective employers upon graduation, they will have an opportunity to transition into full-time employment in the film industry easily."

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