California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

A Look at Student-Made Films

May 2 will mark the 22nd annual California Lutheran University Student Film Festival taking place at the Preus-Brandt Forum from 7 p.m – 9 p.m.

Assistant professor of communication David Grannis has been in charge of organizing the Film Festival since he came up with the idea back in 1995.

“When I started at Cal Lutheran, I was teaching as an adjunct. I was teaching film and TV classes and I thought, ‘You know what, there is no video festival, so there’s no place for the students to showcase their work,’” Grannis said. “I’d gone to UCLA film school, and I started the video festival there, back in the ’80s, and I thought like ‘We need to do this here.’”

As for submitting to the festival itself, Grannis said that the submissions were from all of Cal Lutheran.

“We get multimedia, communication, we’ve had theatre arts, pretty much anybody who’s in creative media,” Grannis said. “And this semester we’re going to have that short form thing, so we’ll get stuff from the Digital Media Content class, from Public Relations, Dr. Sandlin’s class.

On April 25, Grannis led a precursor event called “Advanced Cinema Production: Works in Progress” as part of the Festival of Scholars. There were three films shown, all of which are entered in the film festival: Sam Cirillo’s “My Girl,” Stephen Bernsten’s “Sock” and Lauren Parker’s “Rufus.”

Cirillo, the writer, director and co-editor of “My Girl,” and Zhamak Fooladbakhsh, the producer and co-editor of “My Girl” spoke first, talking about their film. According to the Hub, the film revolved around a woman named Tera, who is kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend Max, and deals with the process that Tera’s father and best friend Emily go through once they realize that Tera has been kidnapped, and how they react to that.

Cirillo said that the filming process took 29 hours over the course of two days in November 2016, which is something that Cirillo said happened due to time constraints.

“In an ideal world, it would be spaced out, but kind of the way it was, we had actors coming out from LA, Beverly Hills, I think one of them was from, we wanted to just get it done rather than force them to drive out every day for two weeks, whatever it might have been,” Cirillo said.

What Fooladbakhsh said she enjoyed the most about the process was putting everything together.

“Towards the end, we’ll go through the shot list, script breakdown of what [the actors] were supposed to do, what scenes, on that day what scenes will you shoot first,” Fooladbakash said. “Because our shots had blood, so we couldn’t really do that first, we had to do that last, so that was my favorite part, knowing, imagining how the picture’s going to come together.”

The next film presented was “Sock,” directed by Bernsten, who graduated in December 2016 and wasn’t at the presentation, shot and co-edited by Erik Standke and co-produced and co-edited by Devin Foster. The film tells the story of a woman with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder whose routine is broken by her losing a sock, according to the description posted on the Hub.

Standke said that he had different parts that he enjoyed about the process, relating to his dual roles as cinematographer and editor.

“In regards to cinematography, my favorite part is a tie between framing the shots, and just being on set, which I always enjoy no matter what my role is,” Standke said in an email interview. “For editing, my favorite part is probably just color correction. We just added music to the film and I loved that too.”

As for Foster, she said that the entire process to make “Sock” was two semesters long.

“The first semester was the preproduction and production stage. We started off with Stephen’s film being selected and wrote. The next step was finding the actions and locations,” Foster said in an email interview. “Post production took all of second semester. Erik and I met multiple Saturdays for 4 hours. The editing process was creating the rough cut, syncing audio, adding music and sound FX, color correcting and adding titles.”

The final film shown at the presentation was “Rufus,” written, directed and co-directed by Parker and shot and co-edited by Doug Lombardi. This film was about two graduating seniors changing each other’s lives and gaining new purpose, according to the summary posted on the page about the film section of Festival of Scholars.

Parker said that her favorite part about the entire process was working and collaborating with her friends.

“Pre-production, production and post-production was a ton of fun, and it went relatively smoothly due to extensive planning,” Parker said in an email interview. “It was a lot of fun. The creative process was great.”

Lombardi talked about the sheer amount of time it took to get the film made, both in the pre-production and production stages and in the post-production stage.

“To shoot the film it took three days and 25 hours total of production,” Lombardi said. “To edit the film it took about three months total.”

All students are invited to the Preus-Brandt Forum May 2, from 7 p.m.- 9 p.m., to see which films end up winning prizes.


Henry Studebaker
Staff Writer

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