Students showcase film talent

Valley College filmmakers had their work screened at this fall’s Media Arts Showcase.

By Gabriel Arizon, Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Gabriel Arizon/The Valley Star

From short and simple comedies to heart-tugging tragedies, Valley College students in the Cinema and Media Arts departments presented a variety of films in this year’s Fall Showcase.

Continuing a tradition that has gone on for more than 25 years, the Media Arts Department held a screening in the Theater Arts Building Oct. 19 that showcased 56 student-made movies. The films, shown over a three-hour period, were made by students in Media Arts 101, Cinema 101 and Cinema 125 during the previous spring semester. More than 110 people attended the showcase, including Valley President Barry Gribbons and Vice President of Academic Affairs Karen Daar.

“The best part of this is that these students are used to … viewing their content on a small screen,” said Chad Sustin, professor of media arts. “To have students this generation watch their film in a crowd is something thrilling for them, so this is why we do this.”

The event started off with minute-long films by Media Arts 101 and Cinema 101. Each unique film demonstrated the director’s ability in telling a story within such a small time frame. For instance, one comedic film followed a woman hurriedly getting ready for work before realizing it was her day off. Another involved a young man playing a video game that reminded him of his deceased family member.

The show concluded with movies made by Cinema 125 students, each with a runtime of three to five minutes. These films were just as diverse, and told their stories in greater detail. One film followed a man struggling with alcoholism while a mysterious man appeared to goad him on. Another featured a group of young men in a comedy as they struggle to come up with ideas on how to text a girl back.

Though some films may have had a simple premise, putting these films together was no easy feat. According to Valley student Robbie Dias, it took him at least six weeks of work to finish his horror movie, “The Moon, The Bat, The Monster,” which starred a werewolf, Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster as they chased down two college students.

“It was difficult mainly because I wrote a 10-page script as a five-minute film,” Dias said. “We had a lot going on from SFX makeup, to night exterior shots, to a dolly track with the wrong wheels which we had to change on the fly.”

No matter the tone or subject matter, however, each movie screened was met with applause and cheers from the audience.

“My favorite films are ones students have crafted carefully with the camera, with the sound, with the acting [and] the direction,” media arts department chair, Eric Swelstad said. “You can hear the reaction of the crowd. You can tell which ones they like.”

Media Arts Professor Arantxa Rodriguez was pleased with the response of the crowd, as well as the quality and variety of films on display.

“I loved how much we had very strong comedies, and we had very serious films as well,” Rodriguez said. “It was a very good representation of who we are, and I think people were having a lot of fun.”