Team Effort Ushers UA Film Seniors Onto Big Screen at Fox Theatre on May 7th

May 4, 2016

by James J. Jefferies IV

idiwsIt has been said that one of the most indispensable skill sets of the 21st century information economy is the ability to tell a story visually in a globally connected environment in which rapid communication of ideas is essential across borders, languages, and continents. Cinema remains the one truly universal language.

The seniors from the University of Arizona’s Bachelor of Fine Arts production program at The School of Theatre, Film, and Television have been fixated on just that during the last two-and-a-half years of their study in the program, while at the same time trying to forge their own voices using these newly-acquired techniques with the help of a very dedicated crew of faculty, culminating in the 2016 edition of I Dream In Widescreen which takes place on Saturday, May 7th at the Fox Tucson Theatre at 7pm.

“If there’s a through-line to this year’s (senior thesis) offerings,” said Lisanne Skyler, “it would be originality.” Skyler’s role is that of the primary first touchstone for senior film projects, especially during in the writing phase, and that means relating her own filmmaking experiences in a way that offers guidance on the craft of screenwriting, while encouraging them to take risks, engage the audience, and still express their personal visions.

Working alongside her in the UA’s FTV faculty are Michael Mulcahy and Jacob Bricca, whose feedback to the graduating students on everything from editing choices within the rough cuts of their projects to final layers of post-production sound and color calibration will continue right up until the very last minute. “There’s a lot of bleary-eyed students staggering around these halls right now… but we’re very close to the big deadline,” said Mulcahy. The goal among the production faculty, according to Mulcahy, remains elevating the level of visual storytelling, while still allowing for a diversity of original viewpoints and serving as a consistent sounding board for the students.

As anyone connected with the production of a film can tell you, there are literally hundreds of tiny creative choices that must be made on even the shortest of senior film projects. “One of the things I struggle with,” said Bricca, “is that many times, something can be working really well with an early cut of a film (such as a piece of music), and if they second guess themselves, you really have to allow them the space to work that out and experiment with different things.”

Of course, all of that writing, shooting, editing, and post-production doesn’t mean much if there isn’t someone making absolutely sure the last output of these films is without flaw and ready to play perfectly at the venue, and for years now, UA film grads have looked fondly upon the work of Dan Brock, whose official title is Media Specialist, Senior. His role extends far beyond that deceptively simple title though, as the very last set of eyes and ears on these films before they shine on the big screen at the Fox.

“I’m the last person to press ‘PLAY’, and it’s such an honor, knowing just how much work has gone into every single one of these films,” said Brock. He is also responsible for the acquisition and upkeep of all the production and post-production gear and facilities used by the students, so Brock is an individual the students come to know very well by the end of their cinematic journeys in Tucson.

This Saturday, everyone is welcome to come and check out the fruits of the program’s labor in the form of these ten World Premiere short thesis films. This is a truly excellent opportunity to view the fruits of an undergraduate production program whose focus remains solely on the craft of storytelling, and finds its newly-minted filmmakers’ fortunes steadily rising each year within both Hollywood and the independent film community worldwide. For more information, please check out the school’s event page here: I Dream In Widescreen or on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/804565649647960/.

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