Some filmmakers are born with the talent of shooting their inspirational ideas and dreams for the masses. Others find they have a talent for it developed through many trials and tribulations. However, wherever a filmmaker comes from, they all develop their tastes and talents as they and their films grow up.
Students were given the opportunity to see their faculty’s first work and the faculty was able to see their students’ work in the Student/Faculty Filmmaker Showcase on the snowy night of Thursday, Jan. 26.
The night was a presentation designed by Professor of Film Irina Leimbacher to push students to “organize something like this whenever you want.” She said she hopes this will be the first of many events where students will showcase their films to their peers with help of the KSC Film Society. In her opening speech, Leimbacher highlighted KSC as having one of the oldest film departments in the U.S.
The night was a combination of films shot on Super 8 and 16 millimeter film and were presented in either original format or on disc. The first film displayed was a black and white piece titled “The Passion of Goose Egg Duffy,” by Professor Ted White, which followed the escapades of a couple dancing in the fields and living life. The couple is seen looking at maps and riding a bicycle in their youth but dramatically transitions to the couple in the future still riding their bike and looking out onto the open world.
Professor Johnathan Schwartz presented the film “For a Winter.” The film begins with high-speed footage of people skating, adding an element of chaos to the ice skaters.
The camera shifts from skating area to skating area and suddenly fixates on a person in red staring into the camera, staying still while others look at him with wonder. The camera finally stays in one place for a more extended period and captures the slow moving shadows of still cones on the ice while comparing them to the fast paced actions of the skaters.
The fourth film in the set, “A Preface to Red,” by Schwartz, displays cars in traffic and the red roofs of a European landscape all set to muffled techno music with recordings of masses of people mixed in. The film made multiple transitions to footage of people walking down streets, feeding birds, the home of the poor, and even a person soldering ones-self. As the chaotic noise and images reached their high the film ended in a black silence.
After applause came a movie made by a Prague student but shot by KSC film student Lindsay Jackson, titled “Something Beautiful.” The project was filmed in Prague during a student trip and was filmed in Czechoslovakian.
During the film a granddaughter visits her young-at-heart grandmother. The grandmother is dressed and surrounded by things in yellow and she sits on her balcony over-looking the neighborhood. She tells her granddaughter she watches her neighbors because she wants them to notice her so they get a sense of something bigger than them in this world. After a dramatic night of dialogue, the granddaughter prepares a surprise for her grandmother.
As the grandmother begins her day on the balcony she is startled to see a new chair waiting for her. When she begins her watching a group of yellow balloons flies in front of her revealing the faces of her neighbors looking towards her and the ascending balloons. Jackson said the film was not what she usually produces.
The next film, titled “Cat in the Rain” by another Prague student but shot by KSC film student Ethan David, was also filmed in Prague, but was made in English. This film followed a couple checking into a hotel on a raining dreary day. As they walked by the wife spots a cat but is assured by her husband to keep up with him. Throughout the film the couple lives in a silent boredom displayed by the wife.
When it starts to rain heavily, the wife tells her husband she will look for the stray cat they spotted earlier. As she walks out into the storm, peaceful music plays and she is transferred to a more colorful and serene mood. She is unable to find the cat and comes back to her room only to be notified by a maid the cat was found by the door attendee and is given to the couple.
After the two student films and technical difficulties preventing the showing of third, the faculty got their chance to show their pieces of art.
Professor Lance Levesque showed his film titled “Little Miss Muff.” The film version of the classic tale “Little Miss Muffet” showed a woman eating in a meadow in a sepia-toned landscape. As she is eating, a large, hairy, and comically designed spider hangs down and causes her to drop her meal. As a substitute for her lost lunch she begins to devour the arachnid in an uninterrupted manner in which her eyes conform to odd directions and a smile is hidden under the hairy legs of the spider in her mouth.
After his first film came Levesque’s second, “Cancer Stix.” The subject of this film was a smoker surrounded by filled ashtrays during his daily activities. The character decides to quit and is tormented by dancing cigarettes and memories of his blissful smoking days.
Leimbacher was then given her chance to show her film “Mother Tongue.” With inspiration stemming from her mother she plays a recording of an interview with her mother in which she describes her mothering. In the film, footage of people in streets and a little girl walking in an old-style dress.
As the film progresses more of each piece of footage is revealed to the audience and it ends with a large face of a little girl looking at the camera to the audience. After “Mother Tongue” came Professor Larry Benaquist’s documentary, “The Art of Paul Pollaro.”
The film follows the creative process of artist Paul Pollaro who works with pieces of wood, clothe, and metal and creates border after border resulting in a creative scene. The music to each scene is a offbeat striking of keys on a piano adding an audible element to his works of art. Benaquist made the film with students at the time. The faculty stepped down once again allowing students to take the screen.
The experimental film titled “Together or Not” by KSC Film Student Andrew Hodgdon displayed a small square in which a waltz of lines and dots decorated the area. Words such as the phrase “Fus Ro Dah” from the popular game “Elder Scrolls V Skyrim” caused some laughs heard in the audience. The music was a techno beat and after some time another square section appeared parallel to the first square and began its accompanying display. When asked why he made the film, the director responded saying, “Why does anyone make anything?”
The final film of the night, titled “naked” by Corey Stein, was displayed not only upside down, but in reverse. In this state moviegoers were given a unique perspective and some told him it actually worked. The film, in proper viewing format, displayed an elderly woman near an ocean dancing in a fashion imitating swimming and then cut to over-water footage of people in the nude swimming in a pool. The film went back and forth to the two subjects with both under and over-water shots of the swimmers.
As the film progressed the elderly woman began to smile but less and less ultimately resulting in a sad frown. After a deserved applause guests were invited to dine and talk to the filmmakers involved in the night’s event.
Ryan Loredo can be contacted at keene-equinox.com