A handful of the UA's School of Theatre Film & Television Bachelor of Fine Arts seniors will share their thesis films with the Tucson community in the Institute’s “I Dream in Widescreen” screening event this Saturday, May 7, at The Fox Theater.
The event is the culmination of the entire BFA program, according to Lisanne Skyler, an associate professor at the School of Theatre, Film and Television.
“It is such a celebration of filmmaking and the creative process, and it really is an event that brings together the whole community because its not just students in the program that are working on the films, but also actors you might see in the community at the Rogue,” she said. “There’s really a lot of collaboration with the Tucson community.”
Skyler said the student filmmakers start synthesizing their story ideas and screenwriting their respective films over the summer before their senior year so that when they return to school in the fall, they’re ready to hit the ground running.
“By that fall semester, they’ve cast it, they’ve shot it and they’ve put together a rough cut,” she said. “And then in the first part of the spring semester, they start refining the cut, getting feedback, they start working on their sound design. And right around now, they’re putting on the finishing touches.”
Proud parent-like professor praises aside, the three BFA students I spoke to seem to share a collective attitude about “I Dream in Widescreen.” That being said, they’re excited it’s almost over. But not in a bad way.
After months of planning, shooting and editing, they’re excited to see their ideas manifest on the (somewhat) big screen, and for people other than their peers and professors to watch, digest and, ultimately, judge their creations.
“Honestly, we have such a solid set of films and I was really proud of all the work all 16 of us have done, because it’s a lot,” said Ana Humphrey, director and screenwriter of drama Two Weeks. “I’m excited to get out there and show it to people, to finally get to share it with people.”
Alex Guyton, the director and screenwriter of Non-Smoking Section, especially looks forward to—and, to some degree, fears—observing the audience’s reaction to his short film because of its genre’s hot-or-cold nature.
“My film’s more of a comedy,” Guyton said. “So what’s funny about a comedy is, unlike a drama—an audience sits through a drama and there’s pretty much silence. So you kind of don’t know what people think. But with a comedy, it’s either you laugh or you don’t. So you know right then and there [whether they like it].”
Not all students involved in the BFA program direct or write films for the thesis showcase, though. A handful of them work outside of the limelight in what Skyler calls more “career-based” roles. Gilbert Rataezyk, a cinematographer and director of photography for The Magician, Bookends and Blood Relations, happily falls into this group.
“I do like being behind the scenes, and that’s kind of the reason why I chose the path of director of photography,” Rataezyk said. “It’s fun to make decisions and do things that might not be noticeable to normal viewers, but that will be subconsciously affecting them.”
Skyler said regardless of their role in the filmmaking process, each student impressively contributed to telling the director’s story, and this will manifest through each thesis film’s visual and aural storytelling.
“The films are really strong. They’re original stories, they’re very creative, stylistically innovative. It’s very enjoyable for audiences to get to discover that work first.”
“I Dream in Widescreen” starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, at The Fox. Tickets are available for $5 at the door or online.
Editor's Note: This story has been edited. The films have been produced by students of the UA's School of Theatre Film & Television.