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Student thesis films showcased at the Carpenter Center

A celebration of the film department’s work was held as students look to the future.

Carlos Villicana, Assistant Arts and Life Editor

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Film students’ labor of creativity and dedication to their craft paid off in roaring applause and proud cheers from faculty, family and peers for the graduating class of Film and Electronic Arts at Cal State Long Beach.

The Carpenter Performing Arts Center was host to the “Creative Nonfiction” and “Narrative Film” showcases on Saturday, where 26 films, two trailers and one music video premiered to an audience of hundreds throughout the evening.

Film and Electronic Arts department chair Jerry Mosher began the evening by thanking the department’s faculty and staff, as well as the students’ families for their support in making the films possible by providing food, transportation and other resources.

“Each and every one of you have taught me to be a better teacher,” film professor Helen Hood Scheer told the students in the audience. “‘I hate writing, but I love having written.’ You documentary filmmakers know exactly what [Dorothy Parker] means.”

The “Creative Nonfiction Showcase” consisted of 14 documentaries total, beginning with five from junior film students that focused on topics like the affect that transitioning genders had on a person’s relationships with family, a puppet master’s life in Los Angeles and roller derby.

The senior film students’ work began with “Turning Point,” a documentary film following 24-year-old mixed martial arts fighter Gabriel Green after he suffered a crushing knockout loss. The film was directed by Jair Holguin and produced by Armando Rodriguez.

“I was in control of a three-thousand dollar budget and I allocated funds towards services for the film such as color correction, sound mixing, food, transportation, scheduling… and I helped push my crew to stay motivated because I know that school got them bummed out,” Rodriguez said. “And I like to think that because of that they were much more responsive to the process of filmmaking.”

The pre-production process consisted of planning shots, sending out call sheets, securing gear and aligning schedules, after which they followed Gabriel Green throughout the course of four months.

“I hope to market my film on social media and hope that it can get more views, and maybe monetize it after a film festival run in the summer,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve got a few [festivals] I’m thinking of right now, they’re in my producer’s notebook.”

Rodriguez and his crew knew that their film would be shown at the Carpenter Center because of past experiences.

“I can’t speak for the rest of my crew, but for my own experience, I was very excited since I’ve had plenty of history with the Carpenter Center,” Rodriguez said. “I used to film here as a College Beat student, and now I’m debuting my thesis film as a producer here, so I feel like it’s a big step in my life.”

After a 30 minute intermission, the “Narrative Film Showcase” began with “Mourning Dove,” a drama dedicated to the children of Syria who live each day with their families and themselves in danger. The film was followed by CSULB-Hamburg University of Applied Sciences co-production “Oceans Across,” the self-aware and self-deprecating “A Man Makes a Film,” animated film “Hap-Pine-ss,” and more.

Two movie trailers, a music video about a boy going to prom and five films brought the showcase to a finish. “A Shot of Nectar,” which focuses on how a mother deals with the discrimination aimed at her schizophrenic son, was one of the closing films.

“This was the first film I ever worked on sound design for, and the first film I ever really worked on for anything other than errands or low-level work,” sound designer and junior film student Andrew Haag said of his experience working on “A Shot of Nectar.”

Haag explained that the sound design specialization within the film major is not very popular because it is seen as difficult, but he says it’s not as bad as people may think.

“I actually was able to use this as an assignment for my sound design class last semester,” Haag said. “But I was the head of the [sound] department here so it was absolutely terrifying [in] every moment …  but it really paid off.”

Haag has now had several people approach him about working sound design on their projects.

“Which is good for me because then I get literally as much work as I can take on,” Haag said. “[I feel] a lot better than I was this year. I know a lot more and I’ve learned a lot about better mic placement and how to do things and how not to do things. So I’m pretty excited for next year and I’m really excited to see what everybody turns out.”

When the showcase concluded, the film students celebrated outside and congratulated each other on their accomplishments, just days before they graduate from The Beach and move on to pursue careers as filmmakers.

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