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Showcasing future filmmakers

Digital film students screen their finest work

November 29, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST

These local filmmakers aren’t making $10 million a picture; they don’t fly to exotic locations to shoot bank-breaking action scenes; they don’t have their own production companies set up in Hollywood searching for the next Oscar-worthy script ... yet. Just like in every profession, filmmakers must study their trade before they perfect it. Students at Stephens College have a chance to show what they’ve learned at the school’s film showcase Dec. 9.
The Stephens College Student Film Showcase has been held since the inception of the digital film program in 2005. The showcases’ audiences are full of people who have made a film, appear in a film or are simply film fans.
“Last year we had so much quality programming that we actually had to split it up over the year, so now we have one at the end of the fall and spring semesters,” Kerri Yost, a Stephens College mass media and film professor and director of the showcase, says. The showcase in the fall is a slightly smaller event than its counterpart held in the spring.
Anyone taking a film production class may enter works in the showcase, and the pieces range from experimental video to horror films.
Each film demonstrates what the students have learned. Highlights this year include a variety of different works from a bee documentary created by three students to music-movie mash-ups.
So who are these future Steven Spielbergs and Sofia Coppolas? Vox has found three filmmakers to keep an eye on in the years to come.

Jennifer Razor, 19, Digital film major

In the showcase: documentary, surrealism project, one other piece TBD
Favorites: Starlight Memories, Planet Earth documentaries, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen
The film entry: “This year I’m making a documentary on the colony collapse disorder of the bees,” she says. As Razor explains, bees have been disappearing all over the country for reasons that are now being explored. She enjoys documentary filmmaking because she always wanted to spread a message. The cinematography is her favorite part of making documentaries.
On filmmaking: “We get a really rounded knowledge of filmmaking because we are involved in every step of making the film from the concept, the sources, where, when, how, the scheduling, the shooting, the editing.”

Event Info

What: Student Film Showcase
Where: Charters Auditorium, Stephens College
When: Sun. Dec. 9, 1 p.m.
Call: 876-7199
Cost: Free

Jennifer Alander, 20, Fashion communications visual major

In the showcase: documentary
Favorites: Wedding Crashers, Blades of Glory, Will Ferrell
The film entry: Alander is also working on the bee documentary with Razor, handling the audio aspect as well as setting up shots and collecting information. “The bee farm we went to had a loss of around 50 hives, from 70 to 20, and (it) supplies many St. Louis and K.C. grocery stores,” Alander says.
On filmmaking: Although Alander isn’t a digital film major, the class allows her to continue to perfect her photography techniques. “I’m learning how to position the camera for good angles,” she says. “I really like the shooting process, finding different shots and angles and the different effects they can bring to the film.”

December Harmon, 20, Digital film major

In the showcase: comedy
Favorites: Crash, Chicago, Selma Blair, Reese Witherspoon
The film entry: “I’m going for comedy, but plans are always due to change,” Harmon says. “The viewer gets to follow everything from a cocky quest to simple decision making.” In the film, she plays herself, and the plot focuses on her search for the perfect film to present at the showcase by incorporating all of the styles and techniques she has learned in class.
On filmmaking: “The absolute best part about filmmaking is it requires people to take a break from logic and things we call normal,” she says. “Editing has to be my favorite because that’s where I can let loose and be as creative as I want to be.”

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