ASHLAND — A festival that will celebrate cinema in a variety of languages, including signing, is coming to Southern Oregon University.

SOU's inaugural Foreign Language Film Festival will be Friday through Sunday, May 1-3 on campus.

Hosted by SOU's foreign language department, the festival will feature eight films in five languages, including French, German, Japanese, Spanish and sign language.

The event is designed to get students excited about learning a foreign language, organizers said. Showings are free and open to anyone, but seating is limited on a first-come, first-serve basis. Various high schools and community colleges from as far away as Roseburg also will attend. There will be student-led panel discussions after each film.

Friday film offerings include a 4 p.m. showing of Japan's "Whisper of the Heart," and a 7 p.m. showing of "Children of a Lesser God," a U.S. movie that features American Sign Language. On Saturday, Germany's "Die Welle" ("The Wave") will be shown at 1 p.m. followed by a 4 p.m. showing of Argentina's "Goals For Girls," and a 7 p.m. showing of France's "Les choristes" (The Chorus). The festival will conclude Sunday with a 10 a.m. showing of the French film "Entre les murs," ("The Class"), a 1 p.m. showing of "Casi divas," from Mexico, and a 4 p.m. showing of "Wholetrain," from Germany.

All films will have subtitles, SOU officials said.

For more information, contact Kyla Boswell at 541-552-6436, or email boswellk@sou.edu.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.