Film series provides ‘sense of home’ for international students

Amelia Brett

Students grabbed soda and popcorn as they filed into room 125 of Cherry Hall Friday to begin the introduction of another new film as part of the Faraway Flix event, a year-long display of movies that originate from various countries.

Laura Bohuski, assistant professor, and special formats catalog librarian said Faraway Flix series hasn’t ever repeated a showing of a film. There are three films shown per semester. The event has happened since 2013 in collaboration with WKU Student Activities and the International Student Office, Bohuski said.

“We want to provide a welcoming place for international students and give a sense of home through movies,” Bohuski said. She said they try to avoid movies with controversial topics for this reason.

Assistant professor Jerod Hollyfield led discussions Friday before and after “The Rover,” an Australian drama set in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Hollyfield covered some cultural and film industry background of Australia and said the film displays realistic anxiety surrounding the area’s harsh environment.

“This is the world we’re setting ourselves up with,” Hollyfield said. “Think about how this movie differs from an American movie.”

It was the first of six total films to be screened for Faraway Flix on WKU’s campus for the academic year, and one Hollyfield said demonstrates the local talent of the country.

The next film, “Goodnight Mommy,” an Austrian horror film, will take place on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. Other films to be shown later in the series will include “Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker” of Bosnia, “Dukhtar” of Pakistan, “Ida” of Poland and “Embrace of the Serpent” of Columbia.

“We like to show cultural films because it’s easy to experience culture shock,” committee chair Shaden Melky said. “It’s to remember more of their culture.”

Melky’s family came from abroad, so she knows what it’s like to experience feeling culturally out of place, Melky said. She said the film event’s purpose is to remind them of home.

“It’s a good way to be exposed to foreign films,” Hollyfield said. “You’re not watching it without knowing about the country.”

The films will continue to be held in room 125 of Cherry Hall throughout the academic year and will always include a speaker unless otherwise updated.

Dates for subsequent film screenings are listed here.