By Adam Casadevall
How do you define cultural diversity?
The Building Cross Cultural Communities Committee, a subcommittee of the Morris County Human Relations Commission, wrestled with that one when it asked to sponsor a new category in the Sixth Annual MorristownGreen.com Film Festival.
The winner of the first Diversity prize will be announced at the conclusion of Saturday’s show at the Hyatt Morristown.
Ten short documentaries vied for the honor recently at a private screening in the Morristown offices of the County College of Morris, and the choice was difficult, according to the judges.
Some entries focused on stories of individuals, while others took a single idea and drilled to its core.
“I’d like a clearer definition of what diversity is, or a question that would help guide the filmmakers that spoke specifically to cultural diversity” said Kadie Dempsey, director of arts and community for Morris Arts.
Kadie was joined on the jury panel by fellow BCCCC members Charles Lamb, director of CCM’s Morristown operations; Harshad Anjaria, a retired chemist; and Kevin Coughlin, publisher of MorristownGreen.com.
The Sixth Annual MorristownGreen.com Film Festival
Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013
Hyatt Morristown, 6 pm
Admission: Free. Live music: SteppingSTONE Band
Home-grown short documentaries; vote for your favorite!
Bring lawn chair / beach blanket for indoor beach party
The Diversity award generally is intended to encourage students and teachers to create movies that recognize our personal differences and promote compassion and tolerance.
“It was a great privilege to work with the BCCCC over the last few months,” said Kevin Coughlin, editor of MorristownGreen.com. “This group is really committed to making Greater Morristown a better place, and I am thrilled to welcome them to the MG Film Fest family.”
The BCCCC is chaired by Denise Lanza of the Morris County Parks Commission and Lashone Murphy of the Morristown Neighborhood House, a subsidiary of Cornerstone Family Programs.
During an animated discussion after the screening, the panelists agreed that cultural identity cannot, and should not, be ignored. In fact, it should be embraced, said Harshad.
“We need to recognize cultural differences within the classroom, and not treat the students just as ‘students,’” he said:
While addressing prejudice can be touchy, Charles said he learned something from the films. Now he wonders:
“How can we get this discussion going?”
The answer is simple: Come to the Sixth Annual MorristownGreen.com Film Festival. It’s a safe bet that you will be discussing these entries long after leaving.
MG correspondent Adam Casadevall, a Morristown High School alumnus, graduated recently from Rutgers with a degree in journalism and media studies.