Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Twitter Film Festival: It's a wrap!

The Twitter Film Festival which the Intro to Film class at Duke launched April 4-5, 2009 was a wonderful success. About thirty students in the class planned the festival around a loosely formulated assignment for an end of the semester group project. This was required of them along with weekly blogs and Wiki entries as well as traditional paper assignments. The students had been tweeting on and off between classes and sometimes even during class time as we watched and discussed films together. But the festival was the first time many of them spent thinking about constructing a tweet in a way that would be both smart and fun. They took the festival seriously and did an amazing job. Many of them have emailed me since, celebrating a new innovation in film analysis using Web 2.0 technologies. They loved the assignment and had a great time at the festival itself even if it meant hours and hours on Twitter. Some of them wish they could do it again next semester!

Over the course of a few hours of planning in class, they generated a Twitfilm Film Festival site where all the festival clips were uploaded, created a Twitter account (@twitfilm) where festival participants would follow their tweets and a Facebook Event site where they invited over 400 hundred friends to join the two day event on Twitter. Their tweets went out almost flawlessly every 15 minutes on Saturday. They followed up with a discussion of all the films on Sunday using the hashtag #twitfilm.

There was quite a bit of hype around the festival and for good reason! A press release went out thanks to the amazing Andrea Fereshteh (@skirubbi) at the office of News and Communication at Duke, followed by articles in Duke Today, and the A fellow tweetie, Jeff Cohen, (@dgtlpapercuts) who had once taken the more traditional Introduction to Film Studies course taught by Jane Gaines at Duke interviewed me for his blog. (The interview gives the back story for the festival, in particular my discussions with Jen Myronuk (@jenmyronuk), and my colleague, Cathy Davidson (@catinstack). (You can also find Cathy's blog and collaborations at HASTAC.)) The class inspired many and as a class, we learned that we all have the capacity to teach the world as we, ourselves, are learning.

If you didn't have a chance to watch the festival live, check out some of these amazing discussions of film at the Twitfilm site and click on the URLs to watch the clips discussed in the tweets.

UPDATE: We just made it into The Chronicle of Higher Education, yo!

UPDATE 2: Wait a minute! Twitfilm in German! And on Duke's CIT page.

UPDATE 3: My friend and acclaimed art critic Darius Himes writes a review of the festival on his blog. This is an honor.