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School of Business film festival closes first season with discussion, laughter

Community building, moderated films and extra credit attract students to university’s most popular monthly extra-curricular event.

By Victor Morales

The School of Business hosted its final fall film festival Nov. 12,  attracting more than 250 students, faculty, staff and their guests. The inaugural festival, held the second Saturday of each month since the start of fall term, was offered in the large auditorium at Brooks City-Base Campus and catered to viewers of all ages.

To close out its premiere season, business Professor Lisa Siegel selected and moderated  “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” a documentary by Morgan Spurlock.

The popular documentary revolves around product placement and the pivotal role it plays in American society. To make the film, Spurlock pitched his idea to hundreds of corporations to get funding. In return, and as part of his own sales pitch, he would help promote the company and its products in the film.

“The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” was completely funded by corporate advertising.

“My son brought the movie to my attention because he is a real movie buff,” Siegal said. “I wanted to choose a movie everybody would enjoy so I checked out the online reviews and a lot of people seemed to like it.”

The film festival is the idea of Dr. Tracy Hurley, division head of the School of Business, whose intended purpose was to bring the community together.

“We wanted to try and build community involvement with the students and the School of Business,” Hurley said.

Faculty members from the School of Business were asked to collaborate by selecting a film, then preparing objectives and discussion questions to be presented to the audience before, during and after the film to show highlight aspects of the business world.

“I had faculty submit their idea and a general outline on what they wanted to do,” Hurley added.

In addition to faculty, students also played a hand in making the festival a success. Lorena Moreno, president of the American Marketing Association, was a central organizer.

“We had to petition the Student Programming Board and give a presentation as to why we were asking for money for the event, and since it was a university event, it was approved,” Moreno said.

Spurlock’s documentary received plenty of laughter from the audience and students said they enjoyed a Saturday night on campus.

“I am surprised that [the movie] is as great as it is,” MBA graduate student Willie Gonzales said.

The movie reminded students of just how influential advertising and product placement can be in our lives.

“We are bombarded with the marketing aspect of it all the time and the movie opens up your eyes on where they place brands in everyday life,” management senior Wanda Patterson said.

Marketing senior Edgar Toribiu said he was aware of brand marketing, but the movie changed and broadened his understanding.

“I see brand marketing but now I am going to see it differently in everyday life,” he said.

Students said extra credit was one of the primary reasons they attended the Saturday screening. Professors in the School of Business give out extra credit for students who attend the film festival. The amount of extra credit dispersed is left to individual faculty.

“I get extra credit for it and that’s the driver,” Patterson said.

Gonzales also said he came for extra credit.

Free pizza and drinks were given to everyone as they arrived.

Hurley said the film festival will make a comeback in February, March and April 2012 with different movies — and yes — more extra credit.

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