As the spring semester comes to an end, everyone is wrapping up their final papers and projects, and none are harder at work than the seniors. After four years of study and filmmaking experience, seniors in the film studies program are required to make a capstone film project, a final short film that exhibits the best of their filmmaking abilities. These 10 final film projects will be exhibited at free screenings Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Weld’s Glasrud Auditorium.
These films are made for the senior seminar film class, taught by professor Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson.
“The projects vary a great deal from one to the other in terms of genres and storytelling and style,” Kristjansson-Nelson said. “Even though everyone is doing narrative” (as opposed to documentary or avant-garde) “they all feel very different.”
This year’s films include a biopic, a modern-day western and a pilot episode for a sitcom.
Adam Brant kicks off the Thursday night screening with his film “Sophia,” a crime thriller about a young spitfire named Sophia who unexpectedly finds herself the accomplice of an undercover detective. Brant usually works as a cinematographer on film projects, but for his senior film, he wanted to direct.
“I wanted to get experience in a different area of filmmaking before I graduate,” Brant said. “The cinematographer doesn’t usually get final call on films, and directors do, and I wanted to have final say over the outcome of this film.
“The film department has grown even since I’ve started here, and it’s still growing,” said Brant. “MSUM is a great school for this because it’s not expensive, and it’s smaller and the professors can help you a lot.”
Beyond helping students make a final film project, Kristjansson-Nelson said she hopes she can prepare the students for the world after graduation.
“The focus of the class is this final project, but my hope is that the students see that there is a greater audience beyond here,” Kristjansson-Nelson said.
Other class requirements include making a resume, researching jobs and graduate programs and considering national film festivals to submit their finished films to.
“The larger goal of the class is to get them ready for that next step,” Kristjansson-Nelson said. “They might not feel ready, but I think everyone in this class is ready.”
The full roster of films can be found online on the Dragon Digest.
BY CONOR HOLT