Academics and Research

Film students showcase their narrative work

Senior Atticus Blatt wrote "Jew-ish," one of the student-produced films screening at Thursday's narrative film showcase.

Senior Atticus Blatt wrote “Jew-ish,” one of the student-produced films screening at Thursday’s narrative film showcase.

On June 2, students in the filmmaking program in the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies (MFJS) will showcase narrative films they have been working on over the past two quarters. At he beginning of winter quarter, students submitted scripts to Rodney Buxton, associate professor in MFJS. The scripts had been written in the previous quarter’s scriptwriting class, and five were chosen for production. The students were then split up into production teams based on their top choices of films they wanted to work on.

“The biggest challenges have had to do with the complicated process of making a film,” Buxton says. “My biggest challenge has been to keep the production teams on track, as students tend to procrastinate.”

There is a lot that goes into making a film. The production process includes scheduling actors, scouting locations and dealing with all the costs of producing a film.

Atticus Blatt, a senior majoring in film studies production, has been working on a film she wrote last fall.

“The film is called ‘Jew-ish,’” Blatt says. “It’s about a rabbi who starts to question his faith and role. He goes to work at a store, and the characters he meets there parallel the characters he deals with at home and in the temple.”

For Blatt, pre-production occupied all of last quarter. Blatt took on the roles of location scout, co-casting director and assistant director. The obligations have been time-consuming, and because “Jew-ish” has the largest cast of any of the films being produced, scheduling has been difficult.

“When you go back and look at footage,” Blatt says, “sometimes you’re not happy with little things. If we are able to re-shoot something, we will.”

With all of the work Blatt has been putting into production, the hardest part of turning her script into a film has been going with the flow.

“Especially as a writer,” Blatt says, “ I have a very specific vision of what I want. But I have always been open to other suggestions.”

Working on a film for 20 weeks is exhausting and rewarding, and these last two quarters have been intense for the film students.

“I’m happy with the creativity, energy and continued growth that the students have exhibited throughout the 20-week process,” Buxton says. “Certainly, production teams hit some bumps in their journey. Those obstacles have been negotiated successfully so that students have arrived at the end of their journey with films that they can be proud of.”

The Narrative Film Showcase is at 7 p.m. June 2 in Davis Auditorium in Sturm Hall. The night begins with a reception with light refreshments at 6 p.m.


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