At college campuses across the country, it’s film festival season. But not every program features grandmothers, meth addicts and multiple wives. That’s what makes The University of Texas Arlington’s film festival stand out.
The last screenings are tonight at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth from 7pm to 10pm.
Senior Fatima Jawad grew up with a friend whose father believed in polygamy. This friend’s mom did not, so Jawad made a short film about it, titled “Inside Polygamy.”
“In Islam, if you marry more than one wife, you have to treat them equally,” Jawad said. “If you buy one wife a house, you have to buy another wife a house…she wasn’t treated equally, or justly. She was dependent on him. That is not how polygamy should work.”
Jawad says there’s a small polygamist community in DeSoto.
“Most of them are converts, or some of them, their parents converted and they were born into it,” Jawad said. “And it’s like, it seems that they have adapted like to just go out and get like multiple wives because in Islam, it says you can, but there’s requirements and procedures you have to take before you just go and get another wife.”
Another film-maker, graduate student Ryan Britton, made a 19 minute film called Not Abel, about twin brothers. One is a meth addict. The other is trying to make an honest living.
“My story, for me it’s about sacrifice,” Britton said. “It’s about what does a man have to make or give up, in order to take care of his family. And in this situation, we have a twin that really resembles one person.”
He says he was trying to make a film that didn’t glorify meth heads, and instead shows how meth users are influenced by the drugs, hurting especially family members. Here’s a scene from Britton’s film, where the wife of one of the brothers tries to kick the habit.
“I worry about you day to day, even when you’re not around…believe me, I got a fix for that…might even taste familiar. We’re not doing that anymore, so stop trying.”
In total, 25 shorts will be screened during UTA’s Underexposed Film Festival, many of them by first-generation college students. Mark Clive, is the film/ video program coordinator of the festival.
“We’re not making educational, canned films here,” Clive said. “We’re taking the students dreams, and their turning those into a reality. They’re actually taking their life experiences and making something everyone else can appreciate.”
Fatima Jawad’s mother, Khaleelah, was at a screening last night, and saw some other student films, one called 100 Grandmothers, another Moth to the Flame.
“You see it, and you can feel it,” she said. “You can make that connection with that person because it’s either someone you know, or someone in your family. And this is why I think I appreciate movies, I really do, I do.”
Another highlight for her, and a first for the UTA film festival, walking on the red carpet.