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Symposium to celebrate faculty achievement

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UNG faculty member James Mackenzie, shown at far left in the car, directed the film "Three Men Named Mantas" in Lithuania in March. He will share a scene from the film at UNG's Symposium on Innovation, Research & Engagement on Nov. 15.

Faculty members in film and music will serve as live presenters at the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Symposium on Innovation, Research & Engagement (SOIRE).

The annual event, set for noon to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Dining Hall Banquet Room on UNG's Dahlonega Campus, serves as a connection point for faculty, staff, students and the community.

James Mackenzie, assistant professor of film and digital media, will share a scene from his upcoming film "Three Men Named Mantas," which was filmed in Lithuania over a three-day period this March.

Dr. Bart Walters, adjunct professor of saxophone and music appreciation, will play Mark Engebretson's composition "Luminous" in conjunction with a technology that will combine live saxophone sound with prerecorded music and stream it to the phones and tablets of those who pull up a YouTube livestream at the event.

"It's a community-building exercise. Faculty have an opportunity to share what they're passionate about, what they've been working on," said Dr. Andy Novobilski, associate provost for research and engagement and chief research officer at UNG. "It also builds collaborative research opportunities."

Poster presentations from internal and external grant awardees from across all of UNG's campuses will be featured at SOIRE.

Mackenzie is eager to share a small portion of his film. His work spans short films, narrative web content, and a feature-length film. "Three Men Named Mantas" involves a pregnant American who tracks down the father of her child in Lithuania. Mackenzie's wife, Ana, was the lead actress, and the project filmed at Hill of Crosses, a religious site with more than 100,000 crosses, thanks to his producer's connections in Lithuania.

"It was a lot of fun," Mackenzie said. "And it's a very stylized project."

He will also share information about the Georgia Film Festival, which was held in September on UNG's Gainesville Campus.

Walters is excited to perform "Luminous" for the fifth time with the unique technology that sends the music to the YouTube livestream at different times for each audience member.

"The audience members will like that they have their own personalized livestream and that they're part of the larger livestream in the room," Walters said.

Walters teaches saxophone and music appreciation, and he is the director of the Golden Eagle Band on the Dahlonega Campus. Prior to joining UNG, he served as a saxophonist in the U.S. Army for 11 years, quickly moving up through the enlisted ranks to attain the rank of sergeant first class. After his military career, he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in saxophone performance from the University of Georgia.

Novobilski looks forward to all the information that will be shared at SOIRE.

"This is meant to be a celebration of faculty achievement," he said.

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