Cinema seniors ready to premiere capstone films

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Cinema seniors ready to premiere capstone films

Senior cinema student Nicole Winot adds finishing touches on her upcoming film in the sound room. Photo: Robby Jorgensen

With the end of the semester approaching, seniors  cinema students are preparing for the last step, graduation. For these seniors, this is the time of year when they present their senior films. Tickets for the annual Senior Film Premiere on April 28 are on sale now and available for purchase at bju.UniversityTickets.com.

Senior cinema majors work throughout their junior and senior years to create films of eight to 12 minutes.

One common element throughout these films is the taking of ordinary life and expanding it into an extraordinary story.

The films must show a mastery of storytelling as well as technical excellence. The content options for both documentaries and narratives are endless.

Stephen Dysert, a senior cinema production major, compared creating a documentary to completing a puzzle.

“It’s exciting to see the putting together of puzzle pieces without a picture on the front of the puzzle box,” Dysert said.   

“We who are doing the narratives, are modeling our film after the script. After a point, we have to acknowledge that what’s in the script doesn’t matter anymore. What we actually shot is what matters, and we have to use what we have creatively to tell the best story we can.”

Christopher Zydowicz, head of the department of cinema, said, “You’re in love with it at the beginning.

“You get a little resistance and a little criticism and you hate it. And then you hate anyone involved in it and then you start to love it again. It goes up and down like any creative process.”

The short film goes through a rigorous process. Zydowicz explained the students begin by crafting a storyline and then transition into production mode. Production mode entails casting, securing locations to film and gathering props. Students then shift into the post-production work of editing, sound and music.

Nicole Winot, a senior cinema production major, described the film process as really enjoyable at some points. “At other points, you feel like you’re dying and you’re not sure what to do about it.”

Senior film students also need to create a budget. Writing a story around a budget tends to be the cheapest option, but students also create their budget around the story. Costs extend beyond props and equipment to include food.

“The amount of work the crew is putting in is something they would get paid a lot of money to do in the industry,” Dysert said.

“It says senior films on the poster but it’s really all of our films because every single person in the department has worked on it. We’re all cheering for each other.”

The April 28 premiere at 7 p.m. is open to all in Stratton Hall.  Tickets for the show are six dollars and available at bju.universitytickets.com.