Mass Comm Students Premiere Films at Belcourt

The MTSU Signatory Documentary Program Abroad premiered three films on Tuesday at Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. Photo by Eric Bowers.

Eleven MTSU student filmmakers premiered documentaries to a packed audience last night at Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre.

The three films — “A Designer’s Canvas,” “Le Début” and “Fighter” — are short documentaries, focusing on the lives of budding young artists working in Paris.

“A Designer’s Canvas” centers around young fashion designer Pierre-Henry Bor, whose designs mix modern trends with the elegance of classical Paris.

“Le Debut” follows Alice Elia, a designer transitioning into the world of fashion after one of her designs was worn by actress Olga Kurylenko at the 2014 Oscars.

“Fighter” takes us into the world of Jara Ezo, an Afro-French pop-singer fighting against racial adversity with music.

Shooting on location in Paris, the students produced the documentaries over the course of three intensive weeks in May, then worked the remaining summer months on post-production.

Following the screenings, the filmmakers held a Q-and-A session where they discussed the process of filmmaking and the most important things they learned from the experience, which went beyond the world of film.

“The biggest thing for me was discovering how big and how different our world is,” said Tiffany Murray, director of photography for “A Designer’s Canvas.” “Over in Europe there’s so many different cultures, so smashed together…It just opened your eyes to how small we are compared to the rest of the world.”

They also discussed many of the challenges faced while abroad.

“I’m Chinese. So going to Paris was kind of like a huge challenge to because of the language barrier,” said Bing-Nan Li, who did graphic design and sound for “Le Début.” “And then when I got there I realized that no matter what kind of language you speak, the art will build a bridge between different people.”

This is the second project of the MTSU Signatory Documentary Program Abroad, which is spear-headed by MTSU associate professor Tom Neff, who is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and the creator of the Documentary Channel.

Next summer, Neff plans on taking a group of students to Athens, Greece.

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To contact Lifestyles editor John Connor Coulston, email

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