MIRC ACE - 2012 Winner

Olivia Keyes

Audience is everything to MIRC ACE winner

Third-year student Olivia Keyes can trace her interest in film to middle school.

"But I didn't realize the power of film until I came to college and took a film course," said Keyes, who has a double major in media arts and film studies, along with a minor in Japanese.

Keyes has clearly learned to harness the power of film. Her assignment for Media Arts 371: The Moving Image yielded "Black and White," a 50-second film that won Keyes the 2012 Moving Image Research Collections' Award for Creative Editing (MIRC ACE).

"I went through all the archives to find images that I really, really liked, and for sound bites that I really, really liked, and I put the film together from there," Keyes said.

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Several instructors teach the course in the fall semester, with each instructor selecting three or four student films to submit for the MIRC competition. Laura Kissel, Associate Professor of Media Arts, was Keyes' instructor.

"Every student was given access to the same 90 minutes of archival film from the Libraries' Fox Movietone News Collection and tasked with making a one-minute film," said Kissel, who also is Director of the Film and Media Studies Program at USC.

"Olivia's edit is designed to communicate a very distinct rhythm based on the movement inherent within each frame," Kissel said. "But she also focuses a great deal of attention on the sound track, using the scratches, pops and other sounds of early film technology as part of the overall sound mix. Her piece stands out in part because she discovered a unique, aesthetic potential in the original archival material."

Keyes says she has always been fascinated by the idea of getting an audience involved in and thinking about a film.

"I like the idea of challenging the audience and of giving them the opportunity for multiple interpretations of the film," she explained. "In 'Black and White,' I looked at the ways that African Americans and whites were treated by the camera. Like the little African-American girl with the umbrella in my film: the cameraman didn't include her face in the shot. And the beautiful model, whose face was included in the shot. I wanted to see how the camera treated these two groups in this crucial time in our history. I was really drawn by that."

A unit of the University Libraries, MIRC welcomes use of its collections. Located at 707 Catawba Street, MIRC is open to the public 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday. More than 3,000 hours of rare archival material are available to view on videocassette and DVD.

Past Winners

Brock Henderson - 2011 MIRC ACE Winner
Clayton Tilley - 2010 MIRC ACE Winner
Jarid Munsch - 2009 MIRC ACE Winner

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