Making “No. 19”

A “Contemplative Horror” film

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Alexis Walstrom, walstromal@mnstate.edu

What’s it like to make a movie from start to finish?

Film Production students at MSUM find this out when they start their senior seminar projects, which are a culmination of everything they’ve learned during their time in the Film Department. Students have creative freedom within this project and are able to pitch ideas to their groups.

Seniors Rodrigo Costa (director/writer), Malia Bantz (cinematographer), Christopher Cook (producer), Brianna Overstreet (production design/on-set sound), and Benjamin Ledinsky (editor) decided they wanted to make a horror film for their final project in their college careers. Their film, titled “No. 19,”  is about a psychopath killer who finds out what it’s like to feel emotions. The main character walks into different scenarios, and discovers a different emotion in each one.

The group is taking an artistic approach to the project. Rather than a run-of-the-mill horror film, director and writer Rodrigo Costa said he prefers to call it a “contemplative horror” film. He was greatly influenced by the impressionist painting movement, taking inspiration from artists like Monet, but also TV shows such at “Black Mirror.”

Students are able to choose their own groups for this project, and cinematographer Malia Bantz knew she wanted to make a horror film.

“I think when I was originally deciding, I was out there saying ‘I want to make something scary’ because it’s not made very often,” Bantz said.

This year, there are six groups doing films and two doing animations. Senior seminar is a yearlong course — during first semester, groups work on the pre-production process, which includes pitching ideas, writing the script, and casting. Second semester is when these projects come to life in the production phase, when groups are on set filming; and post-production, which includes editing.

While all groups are under a lot of pressure, producer Chris Cook said his group in particular has a lot to follow.

“There’s a long history of horror in cinema, so there is, in some degree, something to live up to.” Cook also added that because of this, “it is difficult to get right.”

If “No. 19” sounds interesting to you, you can check their social media, which is dropping on Halloween, for updates. The film will have both Facebook and Instagram pages. Updates on all aspects of the film’s production will be posted, including casting dates.

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