The Vanderbilt Student Film Festival (VSFF) was started seven years ago by the Office of the Dean of Students. For the first four years, the festival screened all work that was submitted, in a non-competitive environment. However, that was changed three years ago when Professor Jonathan Rattner joined the Film Studies Program faculty.

      Professor Rattner spearheaded the initiative to make the festival student-run and competitive. This is the fourth year that the festival has been planned and conceptualized by a student committee. VSFF is dedicated to fostering the growth of Vanderbilt's film community and promoting a film culture on campus.

The Judges

Marcio Bahia

Assistant Professor of Portuguese

My primary area of research is in contemporary entertainment industries. In my doctoral thesis, From Global Entertainment to Amazonian ‘Tecnobrega’: Mobility in Contemporary Entertainment Practices, I investigated the tecnobrega music scene in Belém do Pará, Brazil. My analysis focused on a key element of this industry, the so-called aparelhagem parties. Aparelhagem is a traveling technological paraphernalia that brings musical entertainment to poor audiences in the Brazilian Amazon Region. These aparelhagens present a sophisticated blending of physical displacement, mobility, visual spectacle, and musical frenzy – a successful combination that propels a popular and powerful local entertainment industry. In a comparative perspective, I have confronted this local cultural phenomenon with products from global entertainment industries – blockbusters, videogames, MTV, theme park attractions, etc. This comparative analysis has disclosed aesthetic patterns that cross social, economic, and cultural boundaries.


Allison Inman

Education and Engagement Coordinator, Belcourt Theater

As education and engagement coordinator, Ms. Inman plan and coordinate education and community engagement activities for the theatre. Inman develops education initiatives; works with local educational and social service institutions to develop meaningful partnerships, and more.

Steve Haruch

Culture Editor, Nashville Scene

The Committee

Kevin Flanagan

Web Master

Major: Computer Science & Film

Year: Junior

A Favorite Movie: One of my favorite movies is Mulholland Dr. because of its utter weirdness and refusal to tell you anything that is going on in the film.

Will Beyer

Distribution Team Leader

Major: Film Studies & Corporate Strategy Minor

Year: Senior

A Favorite Movie: You've Got Mail-it's a nuanced yet triumphant acceptance of the

post-internet depersonalization of romance.

Yanru Chen

Distribution Team

Major: Undecided

Year: Freshman

A Favorite Movie: My favorite movie is In the Mood for Love by Kar Wai Wong. I love the slow tempo and beautiful scenes in this movie.

Lucy Rahner

Festival Event Planning Team

Major: Studio Art & Sociology

Year: Sophomore

A Favorite Movie: One of my favorite movies is The Secret of Kells because of the amazing animation design.

Additional Committee Memebers:

Assistant Director: Sebastian Rogers

Distribution Team: Pranjal Gupta

Advertising Team:

Leader: Caitlin Meyer

Isabel Barros

Elizabeth Lyons


Festival Event Planning Team: Nicholas Brovender

Assistant to Directors: Drew Sanchez

Bumpers Team:

Tess Barry

Suolan Jiang

Sebastian Rogers

Stephanie Silverman

Executive Director, Belcourt Theater

Stephanie is the Executive Director of the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, TN. The historic neighborhood theatre, located in the heart of Nashville, opened in 1925 as a film & performance venue and from 1934-36 served as the first stage for the Grand Ole Opry. Now a two-theatre complex, the Belcourt is the city’s home for art, independent, repertory and foreign cinema and is also a popular venue for concerts, theatre and special events. Stephanie has served as a panelist at the League of Historic American Theatres national conference, the National Performance Network Conference, and the Art House Convergence. Prior to her tenure with the Belcourt, Silverman worked for several non-profit arts organizations including the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, IL and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, and she founded the Arts on the Green Festival in Omaha, NE. She holds degrees in theater from the University of Nebraska and violin performance from the North Carolina School for the Arts. She has a strong background in performing arts and nonprofit management, is a mother of four, and married to electric-violin virtuoso Tracy Silverman. As executive director, she bridges the gap between strategic long-term planning and day-to-day operations. 


Rachel Abeshouse

Director & Festival Event Planning Team Leader

Major: Neuroscience & Film

Year: Senior

This is Rachel's fourth year on the film festival committee, and she's seen it get better every year. She's really excited to be working with such a huge committee, and knows this will be the best year yet! A favorite movie of her's is The Lion King, because it makes her cry, sing, laugh, and smile.

Dorothy Kleissler

Distribution Team

Major: Neuroscience & Film

Year: Sophomore

A Favorite Movie: My favorite movie changes depending on my mood, but at the moment my favorite is Sunshine because I'm on a SciFi kick right now.


Contact: VanderbiltFilmFest@gmail.com; Buttrick 132 - Film Studies Office