Student filmmakers dedicate time and creativity to short film production

Chloe Barrett

Hayley Posner

Jillian Queri

As a student filmmaker in the University of Denver’s school of Media, Film and Journalism Studies (MFJS), creating a successful and well-produced film is not as easy as one might think.

In the MFJS Narrative Film Capstone course, taught by Professor Rodney Buxton, student filmmakers are currently working towards creating short films that showcase both their creativity and production skills, while also exposing them to the real-world of filmmaking.

At the start of the Winter Quarter, students in the Narrative Film course formed five groups and then chose a student-written script from which they produce their films about.

Throughout this past quarter, two DU students, senior Atticus Blatt and sophomore Dustin Amick, have been working on the pre-production and plan for shooting their video.

Student film makers work on their short film

Student film makers work on their short film

“I have fun doing it and I’m really excited for shooting. I think that it’s obviously the most fun aspect. It’s all the legwork you do leading up to shooting, so it’s not the most fun, but it’s definitely necessary,” said Amick.

Twelve scripts were submitted for consideration, but Buxton and his students had to work together to pick the top seven scripts that held the greatest potential for filmmaking.

Blatt’s script was one of the lucky ones chosen and was eventually taken over by herself and Amick to be transformed for the big—or in this case, little—screen. The script and future short film centers around a the life of Jewish rabbi who works at a car dealership in Denver.

“The script is about a rabbi who begins to lose touch with his faith and the people at his congregation. He goes to work at a store that is a place where he can take a break for all of his troubles at the synagogue. The characters he meets there are parallel to the characters at the synagogue, so hopefully comedy ensues,” said Blatt.

The film genres include everything from Nicholas Sparks-style romance to The Revenant-influenced drama. With a wide spectrum of scripts and topics, students have the opportunity to fully pursue their passions and interests when creating their short films.

The entire ten weeks of Winter Quarter were dedicated to pre-production, while filming and editing will begin in the Spring Quarter.

Students gather in the MFJS building in Buxton's Narrative Film class

Students gather in the MFJS building in Buxton’s Narrative Film class

The pre-production phase has, of course, not been without its obstacles. Students have had to work through creative differences and unseen complications to get to work together and become a cohesive team.

“It’s about patience and perseverance as opposed to glitz and glamour,” said Buxton. “Hopefully this prepares them with a taste…for what it means to work for a career in film and television production.”

According to Buxton, the student films will be completed by the end of May and there will be an open-screening of the films on June 2. For more information regarding this upcoming event or if you would like to learn more at the Narrative film course, visit the MFJS website.

2 Responses to Student filmmakers dedicate time and creativity to short film production

  • Anna Walsh
    Anna Walsh says:

    Great job. You guys had seamless transitions and cut to b-roll smoothly. It is really interesting gaining insight on the life of a film student at DU. There was one shot that really stuck out to me. It was when Atticus said that they do not get a lot of money, and you showed the old equipment all thrown on top of each other and seemingly archaic. Nice work.

  • Savannah Christie says:

    You girls did a really thorough job of explaining just how much work and effort goes into creating a short film. I like how you guys highlighted not only the positive aspects of filmmaking, but the negative ones too. This allows readers/viewers to appreciate the challenges and attention to detail that film majors endure. I really like the way you girls filmed Blatt and Amick editing their content on the computer.
    Your interviews add a great element to the video, showing students who are film majors and a film professor. I know how challenging it can be to film a 2-person interview, but I think you guys did a nice job trying to film the frame. That being said, your interview shot with Professor Buxton is perfect!
    Lastly, I enjoyed reading the written portion of your story because you girls do an excellent job explaining the structure of the film course and that process of making an idea into an actual movie.

Leave a Reply