After years of blood, sweat and tears, the VCUarts photo and film students have completed their senior theses and student projects will be shown at the Byrd Theater May 13 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free but donations are welcome..
Film genres range from mob narratives to basketball documentaries. Students were responsible for script writing, pre-visualization, pre-production and initial production on their thesis films.
Film seniors Teddy Leinbach and Bryan Duffy gave The Commonwealth Times an exclusive preview of their films:
“AfterShak” written and directed by Teddy Leinbach
“AfterShak,” produced by Airball Films, tells the story of the 2015-2016 VCU men’s basketball program after head coach Shaka Smart left the program for the University of Texas. The film captures how the team leaned on one another and continued to play through everyone’s doubt.
Leinbach said he aimed to remind his audience that the basketball program is more than one person and the team iis more than a head coach.
“I think sports sometimes, especially in the art world, are viewed as superficial and arbitrary,” Leinbach said. “I try to bring out the humanistic and emotional aspects through film.”
The film features interviews with head basketball coach Will Wade, past and present players and game footage including the team’s Atlantic-10 run and the 2K Sports Classic tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Leinbach said his biggest challenge with directing “AfterShak” was being patient. He said he began the project with a very specific view of what he wanted and the access he would need to make the right film.
“I took it for granted that I go to this school and that I would be able to get all that access,” Leinbach said. “But media is treated differently and I was thrown into the category as another ‘media guy’ which is not what I wanted, but being patient allowed me to communicate to them what I wanted to do and after a while I got the access I needed.”
“Rose” written and directed by Bryan Duffy
Bryan Duffy’s film, produced by Laughing Gull Films, is about a young woman who is providing for herself and two brothers, but how she does so in a moral “grey” area.
“I wanted to make a movie where the audience was divided on the actions of the character,” Duffy said. “I wanted it to be more than 13 minutes of pretty camera work. I wanted an actual narrative behind it.”
Last semester, Duffy said he shot all the scenes he needed to finish the film, but ended up being very dissatisfied with the footage.
“I wasn’t present mentally in the filmmaking process,” Duffy said. “There were things I was more focused on than the actual directing style choices of the movie and I wound up with some hollow and very unlikeable (footage).”
With the help of his professor, Sonali Guati, early in the semester, Duffy said he made the decision to reshoot the whole film. He said he rewrote and condensed the whole script in two days and made it a little shorter.
Duffy said he used a different camera and entirely built “Rose” from the ground up, looking at how he did it before and how he could do it better the second time around.
“I let myself be challenged and influenced by other things,” Duffy said. “I let myself get really passionate and completely enveloped in it and now I feel very confident in my craft.”
For more information on student projects visit the VCU Photography and Film website at http://arts.vcu.edu/photofilm/.
“No one has shown something that I’m not excited to see,” Duffy said.