This semester a group of Concordia students became filmmakers.
For the Film & Literature Core Capstone taught by English professor Dawn Duncan, juniors and seniors were tasked with the responsibility to create a 12-20 minute film adapted from literature.
Three groups of seven or eight members created three short films, including a sci-fi thriller, a suspenseful drama and a farce comedy. The students moved from preproduction to post-production, including choosing and pitching a short story or poem to adapt, drafting and finalizing a screenplay, designing storyboards and bringing the boards to life through set and costume design, planning shots, casting actors, capturing footage, editing the footage and sound, and promoting the film.
It was an overwhelming task considering the majority of the class had no film experience, but Duncan was confident her students would succeed.
“If you set the bar high and you tell them you believe in them and you give them as many tools as you have and then you let them go, they can do amazing things,” Duncan said.
This is the third time Duncan has taught the course since the spring of 2012.
“I am a film freak and a lover of literature,” she said, so it made sense to her that she create the course.
Emily Beck, executive director of the Fargo Theatre, has been enthusiastic about the idea of screening Concordia students’ films at the theater since Duncan first approached her a few years ago. Not only is the theater enthusiastic to work with students, Beck said, but the screening also grants an opportunity for new people to come into the theater space and appreciate it on a new level.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” Beck said.
For senior Casey Cruz, who hopes to go to film school someday, this experience served as a good springboard.
“Now I have a portfolio,” Cruz said.
Senior Chase Body, who is one of few in the class to have film experience, thought one of the biggest challenges of the project was coordinating schedules. Determining common times to film with eight team members and numerous actors and additional crew members was a complicated task.
Senior Emily Fossen found her specific task, editing, to be a lot more difficult than she expected despite having some experience. Still, she enjoyed her task because she likes focusing on little details for long periods of time, which is often what editing entails.
Despite the course’s challenges, Duncan saw her students work hard to overcome them.
“I have seen students more intensively engage in this project and in all the problems they have to solve individually and as a pro- duction team than in any course I have ever taught in my life,” Duncan said.
The films will premiere at the Fargo Theatre on Sunday, April 19 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $3 and all proceeds go to support the theater.
Amber Morgan likes storytelling, wandering to new places, and building community. She expects to graduate in May 2015 with a double major in multimedia journalism and communication studies and a minor in psychology.