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Media arts students show off their shorts

The Media Arts Department brings a semester of student pictures and films to the screen for spectators to watch and enjoy.

By Aimee Martinez, Staff Writer

Photo by Mickie Shaw/The Valley Star

Photography, radio broadcasting, and cinematography projects were among the types of student projects screened for audiences at the May 18 Media Arts Spring Showcase — a tradition continued for more than 20 years.

As spectators found their seats, photos from Photography 101 were projected on a screen. Music played softly over a chattering crowd with their cream-colored programs in hand. The hour and thirty minute showcase entertained an audience of students, friends, family, and faculty.

The Recital Hall was filled leaving few empty seats for latecomers. The 40 films, each about one to one and a half minutes long, presented the works of students from Media Arts 101 and Cinema 101. Class promos with behind-the-scenes footage and student samples from Cinema and Media Arts 115, radio, and TV broadcasting were shown as well. Throughout the semester, the students’ films progressed from concept to script to screen with the use of storyboards and blueprints.

“It was very free-flowing,” said Mark Hadley, director of “This is 2018,” on the filmmaking process. “You have an idea of where they are going, then when you do it, it doesn’t quite go that way.”

Hadley further characterized the process as chaotic and entertaining. Jason Tate, director of “Forever” described the process as a great experience and said he was excited to see the work he had so much pride in being shown. Tate and other student directors commented that the screening gives the filmmakers a platform to present the ideas they worked hard to develop.

“From showing [the films] in class, [the screening] takes it from a critical point of view to is it entertaining,” said Bryan Higashida, director of “Toys.”

The student films spanned a variety of stories, from suspense with creepy clowns and bloody bats to art thieves and draining fish bowls. There were also quirky comedies that made the audience chuckle at relatable themes like procrastination. Some captured the crowd with eerie scenes that left the audience on the edge of their seats and gasping at shocking moments. A few failed to elicit laughter with some jokes falling flat. Although there were respectful claps that followed each film, it was apparent which ones the audience favored due to the louder applause.

Interim President Denise Noldon, Dean of Academic Affairs Laurie Nalepa and other members of the Valley administration were present to show their support and pride for the students. Nalepa remarked that she has enjoyed each year’s screening so much, she invited her niece this time to watch it.

“Someday, I’m hoping one of our students will win an Academy Award and thank one of our professors,” said Nalepa.

The night ended with a trailer for the more advanced films from Cinema 125 set to premiere in the next screening Oct. 19. Eric Swelstad, the Media Arts Department Chair, commented on the importance of the screening.

“[The films] were made with the intent for an audience,” said Swelstad. “They get a chance to see the audience reaction. It’s what all filmmakers strive for.”

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