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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Showcased Student Film Pieces Profit From New Equipment

Author: Crystalyn Radcliffe

On Thursday, March 21, students were invited to escape from the stress of midterm studies for an hour of entertainment in Dana Auditorium.

The showing was comprised of five student films produced using the newly acquired digital equipment funded by the Provost's Office. Both Atwater and Wonnacott Commons sponsored films directed and produced by commons residents to promote the new digital technology.

The screening proved to be a much needed comedic break from the midterm frenzy. The first film, "Nose Knows," was a brief but silly commentary on big noses, and featured a lot of close-ups. It was funny in its simplistic humor and wacky filming, which involved lots of rapid zooming in and out.

Most of the other films were in keeping with this style of a simple, humorous theme, with the exception of one longer documentary.

The second film, directed by Jason Farkas '04.5, and entitled "Erased," was a satire on the experience of a study abroad student who returns to Middlebury College to find that no one remembers him. The audience enjoyed the clips of the main character, Peter, finding his room occupied by several half-naked students, failing correctly to open his mailbox and discussing unpaid parking tickets with one of the women working at the Department of Public Safety. The viewers were also amused by the exaggerated script in which, for instance, Peter solemnly proclaims, "If I don't exist, I don't want to exist. The only thing left to do is to throw myself off of Old Chapel!"

Christopher Howell '04.5 produced two films, "Foo! 2002" and "The Funk Police." The former documented a group of Middlebury students taking a bus trip out to cross country ski. With a witty satirical narration about the skiers' abilities and moves, multiple takes on their falls and upbeat, modern music in the background, the film created a high-energy level and light hearted tone.

The latter film by Howell was a modern depiction of people partying and dancing. The filming used colorful strobe light effects which blurred images together producing the effect of drunkenness.

The final film, much longer than the others, was about the Posse Program, sponsored by Wonnacott Commons and directed by Morgan A. Jones '04. This documentary provided insight into the foundation which provides inner city students with opportunities and financial aid to attend colleges like Middlebury. Using interview sessions with members and non-members of Posse, administrators and heads of the program, the film was a collage of different perspectives.

While slightly drawn-out in its presentation, the film did an excellent job of providing students with a better understanding of what Posse is, and what it means to its members as well as our academic community in general.

All of the films were created by students who signed up during Winter Term in response to a commons e-mail about the new digital media program.

The program currently consists of two computers and five digital cameras with microphones located in the basement of Pearsons.

The school plans to continue development of the multimedia program over the next year or so. There are also plans to schedule workshops for students who want to learn, as well as teach, about how the system and equipment function. The digital program is now available to anyone interested in using it.

The commons-sponsored film projects gave students the chance to experiment with expensive digital equipment for free.

"Being a film major, it was a great opportunity for me to learn about the digital film process. Both the software and hardware for digital filming and editing are really expensive, so I was excited to have the chance to use the new technology," said Farkas.