Student-directed films were projected on the walls of the University Art Galley on the first floor of Walter F. Dexter (building 34) Tuesday evening during the opening reception of the “Student Film Exhibition.”
Two Cal Poly classes, digital video production (ART 383) and cinematic processes (ISLA 342), collaborated throughout spring quarter to produce the short films.
“It’s really powerful because there’s so many ways to make a story and (film) is one medium people are attracted to,” graphic communication senior Cassie Logan said.
For the film in which she served as the main editor and director of photography, Logan said the emotion felt by audience members through the cinematic medium was a unique aspect of this method of storytelling.
In her piece, the topic was the effect of World War II seen through the eyes of a child.
“People talk about PTSD and World War II, but no one can visualize what that meant,” Logan said. “So putting in the perspective of a young kid ties you in emotionally and gives you a perspective you weren’t ready to have.”
Other students said they appreciated the film not only for the alternative perspectives offered, but also for the time and effort put into the process.
“It’s something you don’t think of when watching it until you’ve had experience creating it,” graphic communication senior Lauren Fukuda said. “I was with Cassie making this film and she had to hold auditions, buy props, get costumes, and it’s a very detailed process.”
The filmmaking process extended beyond the on-screen details — intense pre-planning went into the films.
According to Cal Poly storytelling and cinematic processes instructor Randi Barros, students dedicate much of their time to planning characters, focusing on the physiology, sociology and psychology of the characters in order to make them as human as possible.
Liberal arts and engineering studies junior Matt Aguirre said he could relate to the characters in his film, which focused on a teenage boy trying to break out of the typical characteristic of the un-established adolescent.
“It appeals to our generation very well because we’re questioning our phase in life,” Aguirre said. “I relate to it very well because at my start at Poly I was told what to do in terms of my career and making a film of me breaking out of that bubble is very relatable.”
Aguirre said his film is a tribute to how he’s changed as a person. After switching majors from industrial engineering to liberal arts and engineering studies, Aguirre is now able to incorporate more creativity into his classwork.
Tying creativity and technology together, assistant professor for art and design James Werner said that the exhibition is interdisciplinary because it resulted in more refined films, combining cinema graphic editing techniques and screenwriting into one.
“Most students hadn’t taken on this high of a caliber before this project, and they used all the tangents of creating a self-directed film,” Werner said.
Some of those tangents included shooting, working in teams and editing content. In this process, students realized the tediousness and detail-oriented nature of filmmaking.
“Everything in film is there for a reason, so when you create films and there’s a quote on someone’s wall in their living room, you have to remove it because it doesn’t have a place,” graphic communication senior Daphne Trinh said.
Trinh’s piece, titled “Baseball Card,” experienced some of the limitations of filmmaking when her team couldn’t get access to filming in the desired store location for a scene in the film.
“We were supposed to do it at a sports shop and the only shop we had access to was one with pink walls, a crystal chandelier and a really girly quote, but we used the resources we had,” Trinh said.
Though the filming process tested students, they adapted to the environments presented to them and created films from which they can grow.
The films will be on display in the first floor of Dexter until May 27.