This past Sunday, Associate Professor of Film John Sherman asked that the audience members in the Gund Gallery’s Community Foundation Theater standing in the aisles sit on the floor, in front of the front row. “We have to keep an aisle clear for fire reasons,” Sherman said. The house was full for the Senior Film Thesis Screening, which showcased six short films made by senior film majors.
The first film in the screening, “Why Cats Purr,” centered around a missing cat who may or may not be dead. The film included a cameo by Moxie, a beloved cat on campus and the recent star of an April 11 Collegian feature. Moxie split his role with another local cat, Stan. During the Q&A session, the film’s director, AJ Ried ’19, cited his difficulties working with animals, mostly due to his cat allergy. “A lot didn’t work out when it came to trying to work with these felines,” Ried said, who often used catnip to coerce his actors into giving the right performance.
A standout of the screening was “(Much Ado About) Literally Nothing,” a satire of the world of undergraduate theater. The two leads of a student production of Much Ado About Nothing, caught in a confusing, open-ended tryst, are forced to work through their romantic problems on and off the stage. Eva Neuwirth ’19, the director of “Literally Nothing,” created a lush world with her use of extras. The conversations between the leads were often framed by actors practicing choreography and breathing exercises. Neuwirth described her directing style as a “refusal to compromise and asking too much of everyone always.”
“Dying to See You,” written and directed by Masen Colucci ’19, tells the story of a young trans man, Alex, who attends a funeral for his pre-transition self, after his family fakes his death. Colucci and his thesis partner Jaqueleen Eng ’19 said that the final product didn’t match up with their with their hopes for the project, but Colucci hopes some day to expand the idea into a longer, more comedic piece. “I kept coming back to queer stories, specifically trans stories, when I was making films here,” Colucci said, “and I think that I just needed to get this one off of my back so that I can keep working on other stuff until I’m ready to come back to it.”
Students have been working on these films since October of last year, when they were asked to send in their first proposals. Scripts were written over the summer, and shooting began fall semester of this year. Each student had two weeks to capture all of their footage. Zach Richeimer ’21, who worked on four of the six senior theses, understood the rigor of this process. “It was both stressful and exciting to see everything on screen,” Richeimer said.
At the end of the Q&A session, Kaylin Allshouse ’19, who worked on the film “He’s Here,” asked that all first years, sophomores and juniors who helped shoot the films stand up. The students were greeted by applause from the rest of the audience.