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Volume 24, Number 9 — September 2017

ETSU student and alumna are part of film festival

The poster for Katherine Joy's  film.
The poster for Katherine Joy's film.
Additional photos below »

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | September 26, 2016

Ryan Renfro and Katherine Joy both have connections to East Tennessee State University and both have films in the PUSH! Film Festival.

Renfro is a student at ETSU and this is his first film that will be shown at a film festival. He's entered others but didn't make it past the entry status.

His film, "Bae," is a story about young love and the mishaps when you make marital commitments in your early 20s.

"The film centers around a young couple who fall in and out of love in rapid succession, ultimately leading to a divorce settlement between people who still haven't graduated college. My approach to this, and every film I attempt, is to bombard as many actors as I can catch, hand them a script and point them in front of a camera. Amazing and unwatchable things are always bound to happen, you just have to be a good editor. That's the smartest approach a penniless student filmmaker can get behind," he says.

When Renfro was in high school, he had two career aspirations — a professional bull rider or a park ranger. After he took a drama class and made a short film, he decided there was a third option – film. "I haven't looked back," he says.

Joy describes herself as an "outgoing joyful creative" person. A graduate of ETSU, she lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She started her business, Katherine Joy Photography and Video, while she was a student. She is a full-time destination photographer and filmmaker. Her photography has been featured in ESPN Magazine, Time and People.

Her film is called, "Before I Die" and is based on a true story.

"It's about a 30-year-old single man who feels stuck in his life. He's a carpenter who spends all of his days doing what he loves most– woodworking. Yet, he still doesn't feel like he has purpose in the world. He builds a chair that represents his desire to build a family and his life around it," she says. Her film won first place in the Boardcast Education Association's Festival of Media Arts in Las Vegas and has been featured in the Raleigh Film Festival, Canton Film Festival and will be featured in the Seattle Shorts Film Festival in November.

She says she entered PUSH! Because, "I love making new friends and being a part of a creative community located in the prettiest part of Tennessee."

Cinematography is her favorite part of filmmaking. "I fell in love with photography about eight years ago when my mom gifted me a cheap little point-and shoot camera. I captured every moment around me. My camera was attached to my hip. My love for photography led me to filmmaking in college. Having years of photography experience has helped me so much with filmmaking, because it makes finding the right composition, lighting and movement in subjects so much easier." Joy says.

Renfro and Joy's films can be seen during the film festival. Renfro's is in the Short Film Category and Joy's is in the Tennessee Films and Filmmakers category.

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Topics: Film



Katherine Joy


The poster for Ryan Renfro's film.


Ryan Renfro