A powerful student short film titled "Power" will help kick off the Community Gala night at the Lake Champlain International Film Festival on Friday, November 3 at the Strand Theatre.

The film is a moving portrait of homelessness and the community resources available to those in grip of poverty in Plattsburgh.

Nathan Winans, co-director of  Power .

Nathan Winans, co-director of Power.

The film was co-directed by TV Video Production major Nathan Winans, who worked with a team of classmates across disciplines in a special designed class that paired Sustainability (taught by CEES professor Dr. Curt Gervich) and Int'l Film (taught by English professor Dr. Michael Devine): the idea was for student teams to make films addressing problems in the Plattsburgh area.

"Power," according to Devine, is by far the best film ever produced in the class.  "It's sensitive, nuanced, and takes its time to actually put a human face on an often invisible phenomenon: poverty and homelessness in Plattsburgh.  This is student learning at its best--from production to publication in the film fest.  I hope many other students see what is possible. To see this up on the Strand screen will be incredible--for the students, and for the community.  A lot of Plattsburgh is in the film."

We sat down with Nathan to discuss the film:

LCIFF: What did you learn about poverty in making this film?

I learned how hidden poverty can be. When someone enters Plattsburgh they see the environment, which is beautiful, along with the quaint downtown area. Once one decides to dive deeper into the surroundings of Plattsburgh you will witness some difficult things. I believe that we portrayed some of those darker aspects of Plattsburgh in POWER. In regards to power, it became quite prevalent while shooting this film that if one is in a position of power, whether it be political or social, they have the ability to help those below them.

LCIFFSay more about the idea of power.

 In my hometown, we are entrenched in poverty; to have the opportunity to expose these types of situations is empowering. I never thought I would have the chance to help broaden an audience views on any sort of social/economic status.  This was a great experience for not only me but the rest of the crew. 

LCIFF: Anything to add about the Film Fest, Nov. 1-Nov. 5?

For students attending the Film Festival, it will be an eye-opening event.  Films that are scheduled to be shown are unlike anything they have seen; students are used to mainstream blockbusters without any underlying substance. So, if they attend they will learn something new about film and about the world around them.