On November 9th, I was witness to a Columbia College Chicago rite of passage. It wasn’t a crazy hazing stunt where grad students run down Wabash wearing only crocs and VHS tapes. That would make a cool scene though; I’m gonna lock that down in the ol’ braincage. What I saw was the 2012 Film & Video MFA Thesis Screening. You don’t have to be a part of the Columbia family to appreciate the screening. Anyone interested in film ought to go. It’s a free event open to the public. But the best part is that you get to see passion pieces from up-and-coming filmmakers.
The screening started with a reception at 5:30pm. Yum. It was a tasteful spread that I wish I had pictures of, but unfortunately, my phone was at 2% and, thus, being charged. It’s the age of digital convergence—my phone is my camera and it was charging for the first half hour. That was the time for hobnobbing and for industrial students to pass out new printed business cards.[flickr id=”8186652825″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
At 6 o’clock, the screening began. There were six films in total:
• Blackbird by Andrew Dena
• The Speaker by Nicholas Ferrario
• Girl with Child by Maria Abraham
• (Super) Dan by Timmy Tamisiea
• Black Ink on Rice Paper by Thavary Krouch
• and Frames by Zach Mehrbach.
Each director gave a short introduction before their film screened. I give major kudos to Tiimmy for channeling President Bill Pullman in his Independence/MFA Thesis Presentation day speech.[flickr id=”8187737786″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
A question & answer session followed the screening. Questions covered everything from project inspiration to the film budgets. But my favorite question came from a viewer, probably about 8 years old, who asked director Andrew Dena how he made his character hurt. Andrew made a great save by saying it was all make-up.
All in all, it was an enjoyable evening, and each director should have felt proud. This was their graduation. It was a culmination of years of study, hard work, and developing their voice. You are never more vulnerable as when your work is put on display. These artists set the bar high. I look forward to meeting the challenge.