Only Connect, 2015, digital video, 7 minutes.
Only Connect is a short experimental film exploring the responsibility of both art student and teacher. Born out of a frustration with mainstream cinema’s gratuitous violence and perpetuation of negative stereotypes, our film follows Professor Helen Howard’s internal negotiation of this modern reality. In prompting her film production students to critically consider the consequences of their content, she begins to lose touch with the world herself, eventually spiraling as a result of the dissonance between her own agenda and that of her scholars. Our film calls into question exactly why artists create, as well as the moral responsibility of their work’s impact on an audience. Is it acceptable to only consume media for entertainment’s sake? Should it be necessary for artists, particularly filmmakers, to utilize their position of privilege to construct an image of social/political commentary? When does art become activism? Or is it already inherently so in its representation of an often subtle, but pervasive set of beliefs as propagandized by a film’s producer? At what point does the depiction of violence lose efficacy in bringing attention to its consequences for political consideration? Is it ever worth alienating a minority audience in an effort to educate an ignorant majority?
Laine Dermer Kendall, B.A. Film and Media Studies (2017)