Carnegie Mellon University’s 2022 ‘Faces Behind the Mask’ International Film Festival explores what lies beyond the covers


Carnegie Mellon University’s theme for its 2022 International Film Festival can be taken both literally and figuratively.

“Faces Behind the Mask”, the title of the festival, explores face coverings – the physical ones people have worn during the pandemic as well as those that are not seen.

“What masks are we wearing and are we aware of their presence? said festival founder and director Jolanta Lion on opening night, March 24. “How do these masks change from day to day, from hour to hour, from person to person? How can we see through the mask and see what’s in the dark? »

Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival

Carnegie Mellon University’s “Faces Behind The Mask 2022” International Film Festival explores the realities masks hide, the facades they represent, and how people wear them. The shows run until April 9.

The answers to Lion’s questions could possibly be found by watching the movies. The festival runs until April 9. It is produced by 15 students – undergraduate and graduate – from CMU and the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland and La Roche University in McCandless.

Originally from Poland, Lion founded the Polish Film Festival “Through Polish Eyes”. She is Deputy Director of the Center for Humanities at CMU. She proposed 30 films to be screened.

The films will screen at CMU’s McConomy Auditorium, Carlow University’s Gailliot Center in Oakland, and the Harris Theater in downtown Pittsburgh.

“Having Jolanta as a director helps us deliver the best lineup of films because of her connections to other international film festivals,” said Sowang Kundeling, a business administration major at CMU and coordinator of programming and marketing for the festival. “She has a good idea of ​​the best films to show.”

The films come from places such as Israel, France, Morocco, Germany, Poland, India, China and the United States. They address relevant topics such as violence, social unrest, corruption, domestic violence, loss of a loved one, and nature.

A list can be found here.


Morocco’s “Casablanca Beats” was the March 24 opening night film at Carnegie Mellon University’s “Faces Behind The Mask International Film Festival.”

“Casablanca Beats,” from Morocco, described as a drama that uses hip-hop music and dance as central modes of protest and free expression, premiered on opening night.

“Through ‘Casablanca Beats,’ I think the kids showed the faces behind their masks through their expression in rap, song and dance,” Kundeling said.

The films premiere in Pittsburgh. Most are not available through streaming platforms.

The festival was the most difficult to organize because it could be held in person or virtually, with or without a face mask, Lion said.

“It’s also been the most rewarding,” Lion said. “I have never seen a group of dedicated students like this group. They are full time students and they worked there all the time.


Courtesy of Cindy Lu

Members of the Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival committee pose with director Jolanta Lion (left) during opening night March 24 at the McConomy Auditorium on campus.

Kundeling, who wants to pursue a career in the entertainment business to increase the diversity of popular culture, said many critically acclaimed films start at film festivals.

“Through this opportunity, I worked alongside graduate students and Jolanta to bring the festival to life,” Kundeling said. “Coming to CMU, I never imagined that I would be able to shortlist some of the most groundbreaking films in the industry.”

The festival is dedicated to the late Paul Goodman, filmmaker, psychologist and professor at CMU. He helped teach important aspects of various individuals through film, organizers said. His wife, Denise Rousseau, a professor of organizational behavior and public policy at CMU, is also involved.

The festival began with a face mask mandate for CMU. It was lifted on March 28.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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