Some 600 UAlbany students are involved with this year's WCI Classics of Science Fiction film festival, including Justin Yu, standing, at right. Yu is shown here participating in last year's zombie film fest.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 30, 2018) – Science fiction used to bore Linzee Zalta. Not anymore.

“I would literally roll my eyes, and say ‘next,’ said the sophomore from Great Neck, N.Y. “I thought science fiction was just Star Wars and Star Trek, but from what I have learned, it is not even that at all. Now science fiction is probably one of my favorite genres. From the Twilight Zone to Oscar winner Get Out, science fiction gets my gears running and gives me a complexity to work my mind with. Really, thanks to Professor Muhlstock, I love science fiction,” she said.

Zalta is the social media intern and brand manager for this year’s WCI Film Festival and Lecture Series, which begins Thursday, Nov. 1, at 4:30 p.m. with a symposium in Milne 200 on the Downtown Campus. UAlbany faculty Timothy Sergay, Marcie Newton, Peter Monaco and Jil Hanifan are among the symposium speakers and panelists.

In addition to UAlbany faculty, the symposium will feature a round table hosted by C-Mart and Undies of Wondy, podcasters on The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks. From Friday through Sunday, there will be a series of science fiction films, lectures and community events at The Linda, 339 Central Ave., Albany, N.Y. (free bus access with student ID; free parking). See the full schedule.

Eugene Lim, author of Dear Cyborgs, will speak Friday at 6 p.m. at The Linda in a conversation co-sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute.

Through this film fest, Lecturer Rae Muhlstock uses experiential learning to engage students in the Writing and Critical Inquiry freshman writing seminar.

There are about 600 students involved in the festival, Muhlstock said, including those taking courses in WCI, English, Film Studies and the hard sciences; students helping with promotion; and student photographers, cinematographers, artists and volunteers who will work at the festival or showcase their creative work on screen or at the silent charity art auction.

“Student intern Linzee Zalta and the WCI Film Festival and Lecture Series Committee have worked for close to a year on organizing the festival,” Muhlstock said, “Another 80 students have been involved in various ways since the start of the fall semester. As the festival continues to grow, we hope to have more students involved and more departments using the themes, texts, film screenings, lectures and community events to enhance their students’ experience and learning.”

“Movies and Hollywood have always been a passion of mine,” said Zalta. “I felt nervous and scared about choosing my path as an English major, but Professor Muhlstock embedded in my heart and head to follow my passion.”

Prior to taking Muhlstock’s freshman seminar on zombies last year, Zalta had considered majors in history, communication and business. By helping organize last year’s WCI zombie film fest, Zalta found her true passion: Today she is an English major with a double minor in history and film.

Now she helps the freshman seminar social media team find creative ways to market the festival. She is receiving class credit for her work.

Eugene Lim

Eugene Lim, author of Dear Cyborgs, will speak Friday at 6 p.m. at The Linda.

Justin Yu, a sophomore English major from Manhattan, said his work helping to record this year’s film fest ties into his education.

“Although I never really immersed myself in the genre, I have always had an interest in the things that are commonly discussed in sci-fi,” said Yu. “The underlying concepts there are fascinating to me, because when everything has already been done, we look to the future to see what’s next.”

The films give him an opportunity to see how lessons from class are expressed on the big screen.

“If you want something to do over the weekend, you can come see a movie,” said Yu. “If you want to hear some really insightful observations about sci-fi, you can do that too. If you want to get more into the genre of science fiction, this is the place to be.”

Admission to the film festival is free for students with a valid, active ID. Otherwise, it is $2 per individual showing, $5 for a single day pass and $10 for a weekend pass. All funds will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The film fest and lecture series is sponsored by the Program in Writing and Critical Inquiry, the Office of the Vice Provost and the Dean for Undergraduate Education, and The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio. The series is co-sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute; the Center for Experiential Education; the Office of Student Engagement; the Vice President for Research, James Dias; the Alumni Association; University Auxiliary Services; the Central Avenue Business Improvement District; the Capitalize Albany Corporation; the City of Albany Capital Resource Corporation; Humanities New York; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.