Big Lens Film Fest showcases Wright State students

Julia Gomez is the lead actress in the film “Huella” by Wright State film student Victor Solo Greene. SUBMITTED

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Julia Gomez is the lead actress in the film “Huella” by Wright State film student Victor Solo Greene. SUBMITTED

The annual Big Lens Film Festival, which showcases the work of Wright State University’s student filmmakers, will be held at the Rave Cinemas at The Greene in Beavercreek for the first time. This year’s event, slated for 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, will be followed by a Q&A with the directors and a reception at Bar Louie, across the street from the theater.

“This year’s batch of films is a very eclectic mix of genres featuring a macabre comedy, naturalistic dramas, a comedic web series and experimental narratives,” says Steve Bognar, the Academy Award-nominated documentary film maker who teaches at Wright State and serves as advisor to this year’s Big Lens festival. “The students have been working on these films for over 18 months, and they are excited to be premiering them here in Dayton.”

Bognar says this showing will be the first time the student films will be seen in 2K resolution, using the same technology that regular Hollywood movies do. “That’s another big step forward for our Wright State film program, and it’s thanks to the tireless efforts of our new production faculty member Lindsey Martin,” he adds.

The students whose work will be included are Victor Solo Greene (from Yellow Springs) and his film, “Huella;” Leah Byrd (from Trotwood) and her film, “Hot & Bothered;” Sean Mangan (from Xenia) and his film, “Bucket;” Christopher Blazavich (from Marietta) and his film, “Angela Darling ” and Eric Dickey (from Newark) and his film, “He didn’t even leave a note.” ‘JAK” was written and directed by Chloe Kristensen (from Waynesville) and a film entitled “Louise” was written by Haley Shepard and directed by Leighanna Hornick who is from Centerville. Topics range from the aftereffects of sexual assault to the loss of a family pet on a family.

Bognar says his students work incredibly hard on these short films. “They write, produce. shoot and edit the films,” he explains. “They fund all the movies themselves. It’s a ton of work, a ton of collaboration, trial and error and dedication.” Many of the filmmakers work on one another’s films in a variety of capacities.

After premiering at Big Lens, the films are sent out to film festivals around the country. Films from the program have been nominated for Student Academy Awards, Student Emmy’s and have premiered at top film festivals, including Sundance.

Advanced tickets can be purchased for $9 through the Wright State theater box office at You can also call at (937) 775-2500. Day of show tickets are $10 cash at the door.

“Fantastic Brass” at Art Institute

The fourth and final concert in the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2016-2017 chamber series will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 23, in the Dayton Art Institute Renaissance Auditorium.

Conductor Patrick Reynolds and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Brass and Percussion musicians will present “Fantastic Brass.” The tradition of brass chamber music harkens back to Mozart’s time.

Selections from Giovanni Gabrieli, Anthony DiLorenzo, Philip Glass and Eckhard Kopetzki will be performed, along with works from Gustav Mahler and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The afternoon will conclude with Percy Grainger’s six-movement ” A Lincolnshire Posy,” with each movement adapted from folk songs Grainger encountered on a trip to England in the early 1900s.

Larry Coressel from Discover Classical WDPR 88.1 will give a pre-concert talk beginning at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults and $14 for students and children, available at the door.

Humana Festival introduces new plays

After introducing six world premieres to theater addicts and industry folks from around the nation over a six-week period, the 41st Humana Festival of New American Plays wrapped up in Louisville on April 9. This year’s subjects ranged from a problematic wedding ceremony to nuclear proliferation and alien abductions.

An audience favorite was “Airness” by New York playwright Chelsea Marcantel. The entertaining play transported audiences to the fascinating world of air guitar competitions. The show featured Matt Burns, the four-time reigning United States Air Guitar Champion. A touching and humorous drama, “Cry It Out” by Molly Smith Metzler, reflected the trials and isolation faced by two young mothers with newborns.

Two women with local connections made their mark at this year’s Festival as members of the prestigious Actors Theatre Professional Training Company, an intensive nine-month program. Alexis Breese, 23, has been interested in stage management since her days at Bellbrook High School. “I like stage management because you’re in the middle of everything and you’re always solving problems,” she told me. ” Your job is to make other people’s jobs easier and you’re always backstage during the show. Let’s say there’s an actor in one scene who has to appear in the next scene in an entirely different costume. My job is to help figure that out — how and when what change takes place.”

Breese, a 2016 graduate of the University of Michigan, plans to continue working in regional theater. “I like being in a community,” she explains. “If you find the right group of people and the right community and a play that sparks what you love, you really can create something incredible!”

Anne-Marie Trabolski, who grew up in Centerville, was an acting member of the training company and landed a starring role in the Humana Festival’s play, ” We’re Gonna Be Okay.” A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, she says the apprenticeship was worth every “hard, long day.”

Now headed back to New York to work as an actor, Anne-Marie says the people she met in Louisville will always be part of her life. “I learned so much about myself as a person and artist and can’t wait to kick-start my acting career,” she says.

Steinberg Awards announced

The Humana Festival weekend traditionally concludes with the announcement of the winners of the American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg Awards for new plays. At $40,000, Steinberg/ATCA is the largest national new play award program recognizing regional theaters as the crucible for new plays in the United States.

Michael Crisofer’s “Man in the Ring” was the winner of the 2016 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, recognizing playwrights for scripts that premiered professionally outside New York City during 2016. Based on the true story of a boxer who killed a man during a bout, “Man in the Ring” premiered at the Court Theatre in Chicago.

Two citations were presented to Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” and David Rabe’s “Visiting Edna,” both of which premiered at Steppenwolf in Chicago. Don’t be surprised to see this winning plays show up on Dayton stages in the next few years.

Nature Literature Trail opens

Love this idea! In an effort to expose children to nature and literature at the same time, the folks at Fairborn Parks & Recreation have joined with the Fairborn Library to publish “Hawk’s Woodland Walk,” a nature literature trail that displays consecutive storyboards along Valle View Reserve’s walking path, located off Commerce Center north of East Dayton-Yellow Springs Road.

The author of the story is Ann Cooper, head librarian at Fairborn’s Community Library.

An kick-off event for the project will be held at 10 a.m. at Valley View Reserve, 1097 Empire Court, located behind 5/3 Bank off Commerce Center Blvd. There will be a 10:30 a.m. live hawk presentation by a Five Rivers MetroPark naturalist and storybook reading, crafts, games and refreshments from 11 a.m. until noon. For more information, call (937) 754-3090.

Music Men to present Veterans Concert

The Miami Valley Music Men, a barbershop chorus that performs in and around the Miami Valley, will present its annual “A Salute to Our Veterans” concert at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Special guest is Dulahan, a group that plays contemporary Celtic music.

The show will take place at Beavercreek Church of the Nazarene, 1850 N. Fairfield Road in Beavercreek. “All proceeds from this event are donated to the Paralyzed Veterans of America Buckeye Chapter,” says the group’s vice president of marketing Bill Gruenwald. “Last year, we donated $2,200.”

Tickets to the event can be purchased at the door for $10. Children ages 12 and under are $5. The chorus has also been selected to sing the National Anthem each year at a Dayton Dragons Game so you can expect to see them on the field. For more information, check out

Astronomy Day at Boonshoft Museum

“Bringing Astronomy to the People” is the theme of Astronomy Day at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery slated for noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29. Folks from around the globe will have an opportunity to experience the fun of astronomy by observing the sun, moon and stars and visiting displays provided by amateur and professional astronomers.

“Whether museum-goers want to know more about complicated phenomena like black holes and the formation of stars, or they simply want to know what to look for in the sky, people continue to be fascinated by astronomy,” says Cheri Adams, director of astronomy.

The museum is teaming up with the Miami Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS) to celebrate the special day with safe solar observing (weather permitting) and astronomy demonstrations. Guests interested in astronomy can learn the proper use of telescopes, ask questions of astronomers, and participate in special activities.

Admission to Astronomy Day activities is free for members and included with paid admission to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery for non-members. Admission is $14.50 adults, $12.50 seniors (60+), and $11.50 for children (3-17). Children under 3 and members are free. (937) 275-7431.

Opera Ball planned

The Opera Guild of Dayton will present its annual Opera Ball, “Night of a Hundred Stars,” on Saturday, April 29 at the University of Dayton’s River Campus, 1700 S. Patterson Blvd. The special evening, chaired by Opera Guild president Penny Wolff, will feature fine dining, dancing to Bob Gray’s orchestra and entertainment.

Tickets for the black-tie optional gala are $175 - $275 per couple. First-time attendees can arrange a table for eight for $1,400. For reservations, call Sue Falter at (937) 429-2944.

Each week arts writer Meredith Moss shares news about the people and events making arts news in our region. If you have information you’d like to have included, contact Meredith:

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