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Hopkins film festival earning good grades

Hard-working students have added a promising dimension to city's cultural life.

April 09, 2000|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,Sun Film Critic

Still, Dietz adds, the Hopkins festival has some work to do, especially in refining its mission. Is the festival just for students or does it see itself as an element within a larger community? Is its programming directed to young people or more general audiences?

"I think they're searching for a way to add something to the whole film scene in our community, and that's a hard thing to define," Dietz said. "MicroCineFest has defined it well; the Jewish Film Festival has defined it well; we're defining our position well." The Hopkins festival, he said, isn't there yet. "But they're searching, and that's good."

Humire agrees that the yearly churn in personnel and focus is a weakness. "Every year, just because the directors change, it never gets a real vision of how it wants to be," he said. "I think it's our biggest problem."

With luck, the Hopkins festival will overcome its structural limitations to become a significant part of the city's cultural life. And with luck, organizers will have the time and resources to reach out beyond the Hopkins campus to welcome local filmgoers. It would be a shame if a few hundred students were the only ones to see "The Target Shoots First" next weekend.

But the festival should be applauded for making the movie available in the first place. It wasn't so long ago that such a wealth of film offerings in Baltimore was something between a dim memory and a pipe dream. And the Hopkins students should be celebrated for making contemporary and repertory cinema a living thing for their peers at a time when most of them think film history started with "Jaws" or "Star Wars."

"Students are kind of coming out of the woodwork and it's great," said Linda DeLibero, who teaches film history and aesthetics at Hopkins. "In fact, there may be more students interested at this point than we have manpower. So it's going to grow and I find it incredibly heartening because that, to me, is one of the primary ways that you get good filmmaking going on."

Film festival

What: Johns Hopkins Film Festival

Where: Shriver, Gilman and Shaffer halls on the JHU Homewood Campus

When: April 13-16

Admission: $3 (day pass $5; all-access pass $15). Free for students with valid I.D.

Information: 410-516-7517 or on the Web at www. jhu.edu/~jhufilm/fest/

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