Alumna premieres controversial film

Melissa Weigel

Julie Lynch and Mary Jo Kurtz, University alumnae (’85) and former college roommates, presented Lynch’s film, “Getting Off” on Wednesday in order to help educate and expose students to issues such as alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted infections and violence in relationships. Villanova University is the first stop in a nationwide tour of the film across college campuses.”I found that when I took the film on the festival circuit, the most intense responses were from the college-aged students,” Lynch said. “So that really stuck in the mind, and I thought I had to get the film out to these students.”The film is set in 1992 when the AIDS crisis was frequently making headlines. It follows the story of three former college friends who have pursued different life paths, but have come together again after learning that one of their male friends has been diagnosed with AIDS. The three women go to get tested and, as they await their results, they are forced to examine their lives.”I didn’t want it to be a morality tale. I don’t think anyone should be punished with AIDS for a promiscuous lifestyle,” Lynch said. “I think the biggest message in the film is that we need to take better care of ourselves.”Lynch and Kurtz recognized the importance of showing this film to students. “Now I think there’s less awareness [of AIDS] because we’ve gotten away from the devastation,” Lynch said. “[Students] haven’t seen it up close.”Kurtz added, “What we’ve seen today is so much more promiscuity at such a young age. Kids today have no fear.” To this end, the Center for Health and Wellness Education sponsored a panel discussion following the screening of the movie. Three seniors, Matthew DelPreore, Katie Kenney and Lindsey Kelpin, all of whom are active with the Center, spoke about how the Center can help students deal with the issues raised in the film. Faculty members also discussed how the film related to their own areas of study-Carol Anthony from the Center for Peace and Justice, Gordon Coonfield from the communications department and Joanna Rotte from the theater department. These three departments along with women’s studies sponsored the film screening. Lynch and Kurtz hope this film will get through to students the danger of drinking and living promiscuously. “I’m taking this film across the country because of the fact that kids your age haven’t had the first hand experience,” Lynch said. “The film gives people the fear we felt then [in 1992]. Someone’s got to get through to them.”Legal problems delayed the release of the film, but now that the litigation has ended, Lynch is working with various groups to use her film as an educational and therapeutic tool. Besides showing it to various college audiences, Lynch is also working with SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape) to show her film to a group of rape survivors and their significant others. It will also premiere on Showtime next week.”Getting Off” was awarded The Audience Award at The Arpa International Film Festival and The Broader Vision Award For Filmmaking Dedicated to The Greater Good at The Garden State Film Festival.