By Marisa Grill
No one ever said boot camp was easy.
That label is given to the first year students spend in Ohio University's School of Film. Their final project is especially challenging: Tell a story using only 1,000 feet of film, which equals about 28 minutes of screen time, and do it with no dialogue, only a soundtrack.
Last year's first-year students -- now in their second year and final year of studies -- will display the results of their work at a Baker University Center Theatre screening Saturday evening.
Featuring films from nine College of Fine Arts master's students and two Honors Tutorial College students, the screenings will showcase the work to peers, professors and the public.
"It was much harder than I thought it would be," said College of Fine Arts student Candace Harralson, describing the process it took to make her film, "Mud." "I learned it takes a lot of preplanning and communicating to the cast and crew (to convey) the certain messages you want to get across."
Harralson was trying to communicate a paradox that often goes unnoticed: "I wanted to do something about the concept of perception and that the people whom we feel need help are usually the ones who end up helping us in return."
Such screenings allow students to reflect on how they have grown as filmmakers. College of Fine Arts graduate student Sven Latzke said he is excited about having people view his film, "Dog Days of Winter."
"I am eager to show my film to get feedback. When people love it and laugh at it, I know that I have done a good job," said Latzke, a Fulbright scholar from Germany. "I have learned how a funny and maybe stupid idea can grow into something meaningful and how much work it is to turn the script into images, sounds and finally a film."
The films are part of the portfolio that students are required to create in their first year. The portfolio includes two narrative films and one digital video documentary. Students also must take group classes in digital video and film production, screenwriting, sound and lighting, editing and direction.
School of Film Director Steven Ross said the diversity of the school and students' ability to work together on projects adds to their academic experience.
"We have an incredibly internationally diverse school of film with probably 40 percent of the students in the MFA program being from outside the United States," Ross said. "You have Americans and international students, and they all descend on Athens (to make) movies together."
The intensity pays off, according to Ross.
"At the end of their first year, the students have been through a fairly exhausting experience," Ross said. "They have survived and in their second year are able to spread their wings and move on in their careers. We provide a space for them to be creative, and you see the creativity on the screen."
The free screening starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.