UT professor wins award at LA festivalWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Does it ever seem like your life is one big rat race? Local filmmaker Holly Hey knows exactly how you feel. Hey, an assistant professor of film at the University of Toledo, was recently awarded honorable mention in the short documentaries category at the 2011 LA Art House Film Festival for her film “Rat Stories.”
“The project first got started in 2006 after the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities put out a call for films,” Hey said. “I started to think about the economic class divide between in the east side of Province and the lower income area on the west side, where a lot of properties were just not being kept up and there was a huge rat population. My partner and I took a rat from the west side and let it go on the east side to give it a better life and decided to document it and the film was born out of that.”
Hey earned an Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor’s in photography from Ohio University. Her films and videos have shown at the Autumn Lights Los Angeles, the Mix Festival New York, the Onion City Film Festival Chicago, the Denver International Film Festival, the Athens International Film and Video festival, the Vancouver Queer Film and Video Festival.
“I started out wanting to make a feature, but was told the piece was too long, so I cut it down to 30 minutes and got a much better response,” she said. “The film is being distributed by NETA, the National Educational Television Association, and will air on WGTE in September. This was my first documentary and was definitely the most challenging piece I’ve ever worked on. I wanted to disrupt cultural biases and reflect humanity’s image back on itself. The rats are there to make the people in the film visible, they’re the real fringe culture.”
Hey has received grant funding for her next project, “The Dum Dum Capitol of the World,” which explores growing up in a rural area while coming to terms with her sexuality. She also has a video installation, “Burning the Maples,” on display in the Secor Building through July 16. The Secor is located Downtown at 425 Jefferson Ave. There will be a closing reception for the installation from 6 to 11 p.m.
For more information on “Rat Stories,” visit ratstoriesmovie.com.