Belser’s 'Face.Age' wins Wake Forest Short Film Competition

March 09, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — “Face.Age,” a multimedia installation featuring cross-generational encounters, co-directed by Andrew Belser, professor of theater at Penn State, won Wake Forest University’s Short Film Competition as part of its Aging Re-Imagined symposium. The project is co-directed by filmmaker David Monahan. Portions of “Face.Age” will be screened at the symposium at Wake Forest on March 18.

“Face.Age” features guided cross-generational encounters documented through digital recordings. The installation places audiences within a synchronized, three-screen surround where younger (18­–22) and older (70+) participants can be seen studying, describing and touching one another’s faces. A 45-minute loop of moving and still imagery forms a fluid space in which time can slow, permitting a close study of faces rarely afforded in social settings.

“Our aging faces encode important community knowledge. However, as fluent as we are in ‘face language,’ much of that discourse remains an inwardly directed conversation, veiled behind sensitivities around aging, beauty and vulnerability,” said Belser, director of the Arts and Design Research Incubator. “We see an American culture in which aging is suppressed through subtle and explicit messages bombarding us through products idealizing youth, differing images for beauty between genders, and the threat of declining workforce viability. This work opens space in which a community of generations can begin to reconstitute those messages by challenging commonly held cultural perceptions.”

A portion of the “Face.Age” installation will be on display in the Arts and Design Research Incubator, from 1 to 5 p.m., April 6 to 8, in 16 Borland Building, on the University Park campus of Penn State. The full installation will be on display at the Penn State's HUB-Robeson Center, August–October 2016.

“Face.Age” is a partnership between the College of Arts and Architecture, through the Arts and Design Research Incubator, and the College of Health and Human Development, through the Center for Healthy Aging. Collaborators include Belser, Monahan, and cinematographer Nate Daniel, as well as Amy Lorek, of the Center for Healthy Aging, who is creating community engagement components; Cody Goddard, multimedia specialist for the College of Arts and Architecture, who is editing sections of the film installation and creating digitally-based interactive components; and Bill Doan, professor of theater, who is leading cross-generational story circles as part of the community engagement efforts.

For more information, visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 16, 2016