Visions 6 Filmmakers & scholars


“Universal's Frankenstein Series: Sequelization, Re-issues, and Marketing Before the Blockbuster Era”

While the methodology for successful blockbuster and franchise films began to fully develop in the eighties, Universal Pictures’ Frankenstein films of the thirties and forties serve as a precedent for many of the effective formulas used in modern Hollywood film marketing.

Scholar - Garrett Spake: Garrett Spake is a recent graduate from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Film Studies. He plans to pursue a career as a writer and director, but also holds a great passion for film scholarship as well. In April 2015, Garrett presented a research paper on Cuban Cinema at the 5th Visions Film Festival and Conference. In December 2015, he received an award for Excellence in Critical Studies from the UNCW Film Studies Department upon his graduation. After spending the summer of 2015 in Los Angeles, Garrett plans on traveling back to the West Coast to pursue employment in the near future.


“Wish I Were Special: Gay Panic, Masculinity, and the Queer Other in Creep and The Gift” - Kyle Turner

In the horror films Creep (2015) and The Gift (2015), the restrictive frameworks of (toxic) masculinity provide contexts for this very form of othering, the former as unironic perpetuation of the trope and the latter as satirical critique of those frameworks.

Scholar - Kyle Turner: Growing up in East Hampton, CT, Kyle Turner spent most of his youth making excuses to write about film in any possible context, even in grade school homework, having fallen in love with Bringing Up Baby at age five. In 2007, he began writing his blog “I Like Things That Look Like Mistakes”. He started writing for other outlets in 2011, and expanded into freelance writing in 2014. In 2013, he graduated from the Connecticut IB Academy with both his high school diploma as well as his IB Diploma; his research essay, “The Men Who Weren’t There: The Unreliable Narrator and His Effect on Audience Perception of Reality and Truth in New-Noir in Memento and American Psycho“, would later be published in Film Matters Magazine in 2014.

He has since contributed to a number of publications, including Playboy, Esquire, Flavorwire, Pacific Standard Magazine, MUBI, Fandor, IndieWire’s/Bent Blog, and others. His work primarily focuses on film through a feminist and/or queer lens. Currently a junior at the University of Hartford, he is expected to graduate May 2017 with a BA in Cinema with a concentration in Cinema Studies.  John Waters once told him he was a good dancer. He is relieved to know he is not a golem.


“The Geographies of Corruption and Innocence in Broken Blossoms and Sunrise” - Katie Comfort

Characters in two silent films, Broken Blossoms (1919) and Sunrise (1927), variously embody aspects of innocence and corruption. However, their positioning in specific environments conflicts with and complicates the traditional stereotypes associated with those motifs.

Scholar - Katie Comfort: Katie Comfort was born in Gainesville, Florida in 1994. She first started dreaming of becoming J.K. Rowling at the age of seven when she began her love affair with the Harry Potter series. She has loved movies for as long as she can remember, but her obsession first emerged at the age of ten as a result of watching Joel Schumacher’s The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and her discovery of the black hole that is the Internet Movie Database. At fourteen, she took her first creative writing class, which initiated her foray into seriously pursuing writing, and wrote her first full-length, completely unpublishable, novel. In high school, she was a copywriter and co-editor of her school’s yearbook for two years, and mastered superimposing images in Photoshop, a talent since forgotten. At nineteen, she made a long-awaited pilgrimage to the land and locations that brought the world the Harry Potter films, which only added to her filmic fervor. She still resides in Gainesville, Florida, having succumbed to the pull of her Gator Nation heritage as a transfer student. After spending various semesters as a History or International Studies major, she finally settled on an English major, since that allows her to nerd out over books and movies as her homework. Katie spends most of her time watching TCM and Netflix and thinking of story ideas that she rarely ends up writing down.


“The Letter of Resurgence: Looking at Dear Zachary as New-Wave Cinéma Vérité” - Travis Merchant

Recently, there's been a resurgence of an old style, cinéma vérité, that seeks to examine their subjects with a peculiar sense of subjectivity and reflexivity. Dear Zachary is a perfect example of how this style works, and how other films may use the same techniques to look at the world in new, interesting ways.

Scholar - Travis Merchant: Travis R. Merchant is a student majoring in Film Studies and English at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is currently  finishing his final year, ending strong with an honors project in Film Studies on dialogism between the films of Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze, and working at the university’s Writing Center as a tutor. He has written pieces that will be published in Film Matters magazine, concerning Stanley Kubrick’s struggle with censorship, and in-depth analyses on scenes in The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and Magnificent Obsession (1954). His plans for the future include attending grad school and teaching film studies, all while working on screenplays he hopes to film one day.