Fall Cultural Film Series

Daniel Dougherty

Every semester, Villanova’s Cultural Film and Lecture Series holds special screenings of a wide variety of films that share a common theme in the Connelly Cinema.

The theme for the fall 2009 season is “Hidden Treasures.” The series will feature films that some may say did not get the widespread public recognition they truly deserved.

Appropriately, the first “Hidden Treasure” to be screened will be the documentary “Price of Life.” Already an on-campus sensation, “Price of Life” is even receiving Academy Award buzz. This is high praise for a film that Villanova’s own documentary and filmmaking class created just last spring.

“Price of Life” tells the story of Robert Childs, a Philadelphia man who managed to turn his life around after many years spent in and out of jail, on the streets and dealing drugs. The son of a violent father, Childs’ eventual success in overcoming street life came largely as a result of working with the Philadelphia chapter of the National Comprehensive Center for Fathers, an organization whose goal is to help disadvantaged men become better fathers by providing mentoring, legal advice and job training programs. Childs’ outlook was so changed for the better by the center that he now works assisting NCCF in its outreach mission.

The socially conscious documentary was created by 15 students working under the close guidance of professors Dan Hunt, John O’Leary and Stephen McWilliams.

Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the film honestly and poignantly captures Childs’ hardships and triumphs via interviews with him, his mother and his NCCF mentor. While it may limit its storytelling to the life journey of a single person, it also doubles as a metaphor for the hope of large-scale social change both in Philadelphia and nationwide.

The students were involved in every facet of production, from writing and producing to editing, sound and promotion. It was codirected by Hunt with student Margaux LaPointe. The soundtrack, which includes beatboxing, is performed by former students Topher Wright and Shea Quinn and further enriches the cinematic experience.

The initial offering in the fall CFS line-up, “Price of Life” will be screened four times in the Connelly Cinema: Saturday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 13 at 3:30 and 7 p.m.; and Monday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. 

Admission is free for students with I.D. and is $5 for all others.  The Monday showing will feature some of the students involved in a panel about their experiences making the film.