Student Spotlight: Renee Sevier

Student Spotlight: Renee Sevier

Feb 15 2016

Graduate FMA student helms Diamond Screen Film Festival and more

by Logan Beck

Renee Sevier rediscovered her passion for film while spending two years in Italy, after taking part in a film course. It was in those years that she knew she was ready to attend graduate school.

She studied film and media arts at Swarthmore College as an undergraduate. Having grown up in the Philadelphia area, she was familiar with Temple University, and heard positive things about the film department. The rest, is history.

Now, she is the co-director of the Derek Freese Youth Media Film Festival and Diamond Screen Film Series, which includes the long-running Diamond Screen Film Fesitval.

Sevier initially became involved with the series through a course called Colloquium during her first year of the Department of Film and Media Art's MFA graduate program. The course, designed to help colleagues create a relationship and get familiar with each other’s work, often invited guests who had graduated or were still in the program to show their work.

“The co-director [of Diamond Screen Film Series] at the time, Kay Hannahan, came to the Colloquium to solicit a person to help with the festival,” Sevier said. “They usually try to configure it so that a first year graduate student and a second year graduate student are working on it, so it can kind of go through the years and hand it off as everybody graduates. Before I’d even started the graduate program, I knew I wanted to work in a festival in some sort of capacity so when I heard that it seemed like the perfect kind of fit for me.”

The festival has expanded to also include a series of short screenings throughout the academic year. Diamond Screen Film Series: NextFrame Showcase, an event designed to celebrate the work of international students, is on Monday, February 22. On March 28, the Diamond Screen Series will be hosting an alumni event with a selection of winning films from past Diamond Screen Film Festivals. The annual Diamond Screen Film Festival will take place on April 25-26.

On April 2, young filmmakers aged 12-18 will have the chance to showcase their work in the Freese Film Festival.

“The Freese Foundation is really trying to cultivate young filmmakers, so it’s a really great opportunity for any prospective student to come see Temple and hear about the program as well,” Sevier said.

Sevier’s favorite part of her job is getting the opportunity to watch films, and considers it a “huge luxury.”

“I know there’s a whole other side to it, like promotion and getting the word out there and  picking the program and doing it sensibly, but to be able to actually sit and watch all the films of my peers is I think just a great privilege,” Sevier said. “I feel so lucky to be able to do that, and to see that work.”

Aside from running the festival, Sevier values the opportunities she has had working on film sets, and gaining the skills necessary to work in that professional environment. Her next objective is to get her own work on the screen.

Currently, Sevier is in postproduction, having just finished a film collective project with a few colleagues. “Each one of us wrote something and then we would rotate so that I would be directing someone else’s work and they would be directing mine,” Sevier said.

Sevier highly recommends actively seeing other people’s films, in order to gain networking experience as well as create a larger collective of individuals that can be contacted to work on other pieces.

“The proof is in the film itself I think,” Sevier said. “ I think it’s just important to support the department and be active and be present.”

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