This weekend is BYU’s 25th annual Final Cut Film Festival. This festival allows students of all majors to submit short films to be screened in the Pardoe Theatre. Due to the large quantity of submissions, a selection committee carefully reviews each year’s submissions to determine which should be included in the actual festival. This year’s festival organizer, Scott Christopherson, remarked on the importance of this opportunity for student filmmakers: “You can show your film to your friends, and they might sugarcoat it, but when you show it to the public, they’re either going to laugh, or they’re not; they’re going to emote, or they’re not… A festival gives students a goal to work towards. It pushes them to create better work because they know that people are going to see it.” Scott has personally experienced the potential opportunities these film festivals can provide; he also participated in the Final Cut Film Festival when he was a student at BYU. His work “Only the Pizza Man Knows” won Best in Fest and caught the attention of other filmmakers that would later become his greatest friends and connections in the field.
The Final Cut Film Festival will be held from Thursday, November 15 to Saturday, November 17. In addition to the short film submissions, the four fiction and two nonfiction media arts capstone projects will also be screened, making a total of 19 films being shown. To maximize the number of submissions screened, different films will be shown each night and the final night will be followed by an awards ceremony. For more information about showtimes and which films will be shown each night, click here. For access to ticket purchase, click here.
Radium Girls opens this weekend and with only nine characters playing 40 roles, the play “is a fast-paced snapshot of the true story of what happens when the American dream bumps up against the realities of health, wealth, and big business.” Commenting on the unique aspects of this production, director Stephanie Breinholt said, “It’s a nice challenge for the actors and for me in staging all of these different scenarios in one very simple space without a lot of props or furniture… The actors change costumes in the blink of an eye, or even one moment they’re one character, and then they turn and they’re another character.” One of the things the dramaturg, Pollyanna Eyler, tried to help the cast deal with was how to understand how people could jeopardize others’ lives when they were aware of the risks. Eyler points out that, “Even the ‘bad’ people, they’re not villains. They’re just real people with real intentions of trying to do what they think is appropriate in the situation.” Breinholt also remarked on how impressed she was with the actors’ ability to empathize with their characters saying, “I love that the cast is finding positives in every character… You could go in with quite a bit of bias, especially against the characters that represent the Radium Corporation, but they’re finding the humanity in every character. It’s not just a cut and dry story. Everyone has good qualities, but they make some glaring mistakes.” For more about the production, click here. For access to showtimes and tickets, click here.
Megan Sanborn Jones and the current grad cohort of 6 students attended a one-day (October 31) Frantic Assembly workshop to learn the “Frantic method,” which is a way of creating physical theatre using the principles of pressure, counterbalance, and team work. Megan observed, “We created some lovely duets and group movement pieces, and concluded the workshop with a group choreography with all the participants. The best part of the day was the ride back and forth to SLC in my (Megan’s) mama van, where we talked about art, history, baby names, and the gospel.” Frantic Assembly also conducted a workshop here on campus with Kris Jennings, Julia Ashworth, and their students. They participated in similar experiences, where they learned the principles of the Frantic method in devising theatre stories. Frantic Assembly teaches a method of devising that is one of the most studied and praised theatre companies working today. Their work has always been about more than the work on the stage. It is about the ethos of collaboration, empowerment, and of the constant desire to improve, telling stories in a voice we don’t always hear and finding talent in places we don’t always look. The group has toured extensively across the UK and worked in over 40 countries internationally collaborating with some of today’s most inspiring artists. Below are some of the fun things they did at the workshop on Saturday, November 3.
Anna, directed by Billy Knowles, just won Best Student Drama Short and Best Director Student Short at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. Anna was screened last week at the media arts forum and will be screened this weekend at the Final Cut Film Festival.