Traverse City Film Festival to Shine Spotlight on Student Work

Posted on: July 22, 2015

313 movie poster

Michigan State University and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences will have a strong presence at this year’s Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), slated for July 28-Aug. 2 at multiple locations in Traverse City, Mich.

The festival will premiere the first MSU student-produced feature film, “(313) Choices,” a large-scale, collaborative project between MSU’s Media Sandbox, Department of Theatre and College of Music.

313 film in productionCreated entirely by students, the full-length feature film started as an original student play that was adapted for the screen with the talents of the student cast and crew. More than 100 creative MSU undergraduates participated in this extracurricular “Theatre 2 Film” project, serving as the actors, directors, cinematographers, composers, writers, editors, producers and art directors involved in every aspect of the production.

"Making feature-length, dramatic films is almost unheard of at most universities and film schools," said David Wheeler, Director of the Media Sandbox. "It's a daunting task, but we pulled it off. I’m very proud of our students."

A contemporary human drama, “(313) Choices” consists of several interlaced stories about young adults faced with life altering decisions set in and around Detroit (aka “The 313”).

The 90-minute film will premiere at the festival on Wednesday, July 29, at noon at the Old Town Playhouse, 148 E. Eighth Street.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at "(313) Choices" and hear more from the student cast, crew and faculty supporting this project.

TCFF also will feature screenings of four MSU student-produced documentaries as well as a game design and development showcase, called "The Woz."

The student-produced documentaries will run at the festival on Thursday, July 30, at 6 p.m. at The Buzz at InsideOut Gallery, 229 Garland Street, under the title “Shorts by MSU students.”

The four films include:

  • Unchecking the Box,” which explores the changing ideas of racial identity in America through the lens of MSU students and professors. The narratives from students of color lead to self-examinations of racial biases and jump-start conversations on this complicated topic. The film was completed as part of the Documentary Design and Production class (TC 411) taught by Geri Alumit Zeldes, Associate Professor of Journalism, and Bob Albers, Senior Video Specialist in the Department of Media and Information.
  • Gay from Gaylord,” a documentary about a young stand-up comedian and the challenges he faced growing up gay in a small, conservative Michigan town. Now an MSU student, the documentary follows the comedian on a journey back to his roots. This film also was completed as part of the TC 411 class.
  • The Geography of Hope,” a documentary about the Media Sandbox Street Team’s spring break trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks to document the accessibility features at these parks to help with the media and communication needs of The Disabled Traveler, a nonprofit that serves as a resource for travelers with physical or age-related challenges.
  • Reservations,” a comedy in which a young man inherits a troubled, run-down, terribly managed hotel. The film is a culmination of the capstone class for the Specialization in Fiction Filmmaking, offered by the College of Arts and Letters.

TCFF has partnered with the ComArtSci Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab to bring a showcase of media projects that go beyond traditional screens to the place where film and technology intersect and you are part of the story – where the magic of your presence changes everything. The showcase will include the creations developed by the GEL Lab and MSU student game developers. It also will offer festivalgoers the chance to explore and experience Oculus Rift, technology that will transform gaming and film as we know them; Killer Queen, the world’s only 10-player arcade game; and several digital indie party games. The Woz, located at The Buzz, 229 Garland Street, will be available every day of the festival from noon to 9 p.m.

MSU also will offer the following classes as part of the TCFF Film School:

  • Modern Melodrama, a workshop that will encourage discussion of how millennial women are reinventing the genre to think through classic melodramatic issues of family, attachment, sacrifice and loss in a contemporary light, taught by Ellen McCallum, MSU Film Studies Associate Professor, on Thursday, July 30, at 3 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) Scholars Hall, 1450 College Drive.
  • Cellphone Cinematography: Acting and Directing for the Tiny Screen, a workshop that will consider tools for creating a big-screen aesthetic from small devices as well as techniques for directors to consider when working with actors on cellphone cinematography, taught by Mark Colson, MSU Department of Theatre Assistant Professor of Media Acting, and Peter Johnston, MSU Film Studies Digital Media Production Manager, on Friday, July 31, at noon at NMC Scholars Hall, 1450 College Drive.

For more information on the festival, see the Traverse City Film Festival website.

by Rachel Tang, Public Relations Assistant/ Journalism Senior

 

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