Luke Stergiou / photo editor

Kiana Wright

Opinions Editor

Students are wrapping up their capstone films and are excited to show everyone the presentation of their year-long work. These capstone films are the real deal; including teams with directors, writers, a sound designer and professional actors. These students that are taking part in this culminating experience had to make their films all by themselves: From finding enough funds, to building the film, to then hosting actor and actress interviews, the students were involved with every part of the process. Aleks Balsewicz, a senior majoring in film with a focus on production and critical studies and with a minor in political science, goes into depth about the class, “The essence of the class is that you either, by yourself or in a group, spend the entire year working on a single film. It can be whatever you want, a documentary, narrative, etc, and whatever topic.”

While some of the teams are able to divide up the work by assigning certain roles to each other, some students participating in this project are doing it all by themselves. Junior Megan Lummus, a film production and theater directing major, is making this whole filmmaking process a one-woman job. She said, “There’s the benefit of having total control and not really having to compromise for other people’s opinions, but that’s also a downside because you don’t get other inputs and perspectives all the time.” Junior film major Zachary McCallion talked about why he chose to work in a group, “Everyone gets to really focus in on a specific task or set of tasks… we can divy up work differently into our special skill sets.” Balsewicz said that no matter their title, they are all in this together, “All of us are really keen on supporting each other wherever the need arises, even if it’s not necessarily our job by title. All of us have worked together for years, so we have good chemistry and we really know how to be efficient.”

The process as a whole isn’t something that can be taught in a classroom. Even though these films are only 20 minutes in length, it still took students a while to get it right where they wanted it to be. Lummus said, “Before shooting, getting the script right was hard, and finding actors, and then on set there were problems that had to be solved as quick as possible.” Lummus went on to say that she couldn’t dwell on an issue, since time was a big factor. “There wasn’t really a hardest part, it’s just kind of problem solving as things come up.” Some groups started thinking of ideas before the class even started. Balsewicz said, “Over the summer we started brainstorming ideas and none of them really stuck, but they got the creative juices flowing.” After all the struggles of the filmmaking process, McCallion said that the time limit of the film isn’t an issue, “I actually think that keeping a limit… helps more than it actually distracts because you’re able to focus more clearly on less. And it helps you in the long run.”

Everyone has agreed that they have spent over a couple hundreds of hours working on their short films. Balsewicz said their group shot their film over the course of five 12-hour days, then adding the time it took to come up with ideas, write the scripts, find actors adds up to about 70 to 100 more hours. He then admitted, “Now that we’re done shooting, there’s probably going to be another one to two hundred hours of editing.”

McCallion is going to present a cosmic horror film with the rest of his group. He explains the film, “[It’s] about a paranormal investigator who comes across something bigger than he might initially have realized.”

Balsewicz and his group’s film might also have you on the edge of your seat. Balsewicz talked about his group’s film, an idea that came from their cinematographer Nikki Root, “These two girls partake in what they believe is a medical trial to help those with depression, but in reality it’s more of an experiment by this doctor who himself is not at all stable, who is pretty much using these patients to further his own research… It’s very dark.”

Many have said this was a great experience, and for the juniors who choose to take the class early, the oppertunity to take the class again is appealing. McCallion said, “This is definitely the most intensive production I’ve ever been apart of.” He went on to say that he signed up for this class with people who he already knew were going to be part of his group, and with hopes that this isn’t their last time together. “We figured we wanted to do our capstone this year, and hopefully do another production next year.”

There are a whole variety of films being made by students from KSC. A capstone is something a student has to work on towards the end of their college education, and it shows what they learned during the past couple years. These students are thrilled to share their unique pieces with everyone.

Balsewicz said, “I’ve had a complete blast working with this crew… it’s been an incredible experience. Come see the film May 4 at the Colonial Theater downtown, it’ll be great, everyone’s invited and you can see all the capstone films!”

Kiana Wright can be contacted


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