Photo: Producer David Kaplan and Director Mark Levinson of “Particle Fever” answer the audience’s questions. (Photo by Jessica Crabtree)
Story by Jessica Crabtree
Students from EN 310 Film Criticism and American Culture were a part of Columbia’s first T.G.I.T/F, which is a free event to all Missouri schools and colleges and included a free showing of “Particle Fever” on Friday, Feb. 28.
Claire Schmidt, assistant professor of English, met with students at 9 a.m. before heading to Columbia for the film fest to participate in T.G.I.T/F. As they arrived, they were greeted by a group of students outside the Missouri Theatre. Once inside the lobby, students were treated to free locally made ice cream from Sparky’s and were able to listen to artist Taylor Ross and members of Chimney Choir as they performed in sync with “Jupiter and Fyn, Ross’s incredible musical fox,” according to truefalse.org.
When allowed into the theatre, students listened and watched a performance by Mountain Animation. According to their website, mountainanimation.com, they describe their music as “lightning-quick sledgehammer banjo stylings and flame-throwing violin mayhem”. They came all the way from the subways of New York to perform. They were back on stage later to provide more entertainment to guests as they waited to watch a second film.
History senior Amanda Buhr said “the music was pretty good, and their clothes were very interesting.”
At 11 a.m., a short introduction to the film “Particle Fever” was presented, followed by the 99-minute film.
“Particle Fever” looks into physicists’ lives as they recreate the instant after the Big Bang to see what they can learn about the atom. Their goal was to collide two photons at four different locations using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on the French-Swiss border. According to the CERN website, the LHC “consists of a 27-kilometer ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of particles along the way.” With some complications along the way, physicists were finally able to recreate the collisions in Oct. 2013. They discovered the Higgs boson, which is “a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles,” according to CERN.
“My husband, himself an experimental physicist, felt the film brought a necessary message of humanity, creativity, and reverence within physics to the public,” Schmidt said.
After the film, viewers were able to ask the director Mark Levinson and producer David Kaplan questions about the film.
EN 310 students then took a break and ate Thai cuisine at Bangkok Gardens for lunch before returning to watch a second film, “Rich Hill”. Schmidt said “I felt proud that I was able to bring my students to this packed theater to see what it’s like to watch a brand-new Sundance award-winning movie in a sold-out house that includes the filmmakers’ family and friends.”
The second film introduces viewers to three teenage boys who live in Rich Hill, Mo. The film looks into their lives as they are confronted with life’s struggles. They each have their own way of dealing with those struggles, which makes them unforgettable.
Schmidt said, “I think seeing “Rich Hill” alone made the trip worth it for me. It was such a powerful film, and it did such a beautiful job of showing the love and affection between even the most embattled parents and children.”
After the films, students stopped in at a local slow-food restaurant, Broadway Brewery, and were able to “eat locally raised, cured, and prepared sausage, cheese, bread, and other snacks,” Schmidt said. “The class got to meet Leola Davis, one of the music coordinators who finds, books, and takes care of hundreds of musicians who play at True/False.”
Buhr said “it was a pretty enjoyable trip. I would like to go again to see different films.”
“I’m really happy that the English Department so graciously funded the trip, and really grateful to Polina Malikin, who is the True/False Education coordinator, who helped me get the reduce-priced tickets for the films,” Schmidt said. “Although I won’t be teaching film again until 2016, I would like to bring all the students in the Honors Program to True/False next year as part of the enhanced college experience offered by the Honors Program. The festival and the educational and real-life experiences it offers are too good to miss!”
Photo below: The Mountain Animation band performing before “Rich Hill”. (Photo by Jessica Crabtree)
Photo: Missouri Theatre’s ceiling and balcony. (Photo by Amanda Buhr)