Posts Tagged ‘film students’

Two Screenings for Five Student Films

May 27, 2010

Poster for "On the Bright Side" student film

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The trailers for the five student films are already up on You Tube. The entire student body at Idyllwild Arts got to see them last week.  Now, everyone in Idyllwild can see all the films in their entirety at the “Moving Pictures Screenings” on campus this weekend. Like the Academy Awards, black tie is optional.

The five student films, all ranging from eight to 18 minutes in length, showcase the writing, directing, producing, editing, lighting, and camera work of the students in the Moving Pictures Department. Moreover, some of them even scored and acted in the films.

According to Malcom, a film student, the five short films include: “Prima Ballerina Assoluta,” about high school dancers; “Shortcomings,” a comedy about a teen with a small whatchamacallit; “Practice Room Nine,” a horror movie; “The Other Side,” an art film that no one can really explain; and “On the Bright Side,” a comedy about an optomistic teen unwilling to break-up.

Besides the five films, there will also be trailers for some documentaries that didn’t get finished this year, added Malcom.

Marietta, who wrote and is producing a documentary about fashion designers, said that sometimes it takes three to five years to complete one. Her documentary started out featuring her mother, a Russian fashion designer. However, as a senior, Marietta wasn’t concerned about someone else finishing her work next year.

“Two students from our crew will still be working on the documentary,” Marietta said. “And I’ll come back to help them edit it.”

“Because you’re the only one who speaks Russian,” said her friend, Sofia.

“No, the  last part of the documentary will be in English,” she added.

“The films are better this year,” said Scarlett, who worked on nearly all five of them.

"The Other Side," is dubbed an "art film," because it's hard to explain

She said that “Shortcomings” and “The Other Side” were the most difficult to get out of the can. Mostly because of the weather changes.

Carter, a theater student who was one of the leads in “The Other Side,” said that it was freezing when they shot some of the scenes.

The students had built a “rain machine” and they were scheduled to shoot on one of the coldest nights of the year. Any delays in shooting “The Other Side” would put other films behind, so they had to push ahead with it.

“I was shivering a lot,” Carter said. “But it looks like I was just emotional on film.”

She said that it was harder to “play dead,” and not shiver.

“Prima Ballerina Assoluta,” Dhaivat’s 18-minute short film about ballet dancers, started out as a Kung Fu ninja fighters movie, with lots of death and fight scenes.

“But then Isaac (Webb, chair of the Moving Pictures Department) and I realized that the only ones on campus athletic enough to carry off a fight scene were the dancers, so we had to change it a bit,” he said. (See “Kung Fu Ballerina” post from April 20).

"Shortcomings" is about a guy with a small whatchamacallit

Most of the actors in the films are theater, film and dance students from Idyllwild Arts, including Dakota, Miracle, Ellen, Carter, Mykal, Kia, Juwan, Luke, Lea, Oscar, Jamie, Dylan and Laura, among others. Ana Lia Lenchantin, an Idyllwild resident, plays the ballet teacher in “Prima Ballerina Assoluta.”

Many Idyllwild landmarks will appear in the student films, including Fairway Market, the dance studio and dorms on the Idyllwild Arts campus, and homes in Idyllwild.

“We’re going to put out the red carpet,” said Laura, who wrote, directed and scored “On the Bright Side,” a short about a ridiculously optomistic guy who won’t allow his girlfriend to break up with him. Laura also played the female lead in another film, “Shortcomings.”

The Moving Pictures Screenings will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 28 and 29 at the IAF Theater (in the Bowman Building) on campus. All screenings are free and open to the public. Both evenings will show the same five films. For more information, visit or call (951) 659-2171. Check out the “IAA Trailers 2010” on You Tube.

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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Kung Fu Ballerina

April 20, 2010

Dhavit Mehta, writer & director

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Dhaivat Mehta loves Kung Fu movies. He’s seen them all at least five times, has got quite a DVD/VHS collection of his own, and can carry on a hefty debate with his classmates on what the best Kung Fu movie is.

“It’s definitely not ‘Kung Fu Panda,'” he said with a groan (referring to the 2008 animated movie by DreamWorks). And they went on to talk about the old masters, such as Bruce Lee and David Carradine, and which films had the worst dubbed lines.

So it’s not surprising that this senior Idyllwild Arts film major would want to write a Kung Fu, or Chinese martial arts, film.

“Prima Ballerina Assoluta,” his 18-minute short film about ballet dancers, started out as a Kung Fu ninja fighters movie, with lots of death and fight scenes, Mehta said.

“But then Isaac (Webb, chair of the Moving Pictures Department) and I realized that the only ones on campus athletic enough to carry off a fight scene were the dancers, so we had to change it a bit,” he said.

The show’s title, “Prima Ballerina Assoluta,” Mehta explained, is an Italian title for a professional ballet dancer.

“We researched it, and it’s a title of utmost respect for an international ballerina with a promising career,” he said. “The title fits our movie.”

“There’s lots of beauty to be explored with dancing” he added, “but we kept some Kung Fu elements, such as a sensei.”

The sensei, or wise dance instructor, is played by Ana Lia Lenchantin, an Idyllwild resident, who hails from Argentina and has acted in a several movies before.

“The dancers act as Lenchantin’s disciples,” Mehta said, “and kneel down before her. You’ll see that in lots of Kung Fu movies.”

Ellen King is one of the dancers in the "chick fight"

“There’s also an awesome chick fight, and it’s not held on the dance floor, but in the dorm room,” he added with enthusiasm.

Those three “chicks” that fight in his film are are dance majors Dakota Bailey and Ellen King, with Miracle Chance, a theater major at Idyllwild Arts.

Bailey was seen in the lunch room last week sporting a black eye. No one batted an eyelash.

“Doesn’t it look great?” Bailey beamed. “It has been so much fun working on this movie. I think I’m going to explore acting more in college.”

Laura Holliday, another film major, created the black eye for her with a “pro bruise kit” purchased online.

“It was really amazing, all the colors that were in there, including blue, black, purple, yellow and green,” she said. “The fight scene took three days to shoot, so I adjusted the colors on Dakota’s black eye each day. By the third day, it was yellow and green.”

Dakota Bailey, seen here at another event, sports a black eye in the movie

To choreograph the fight scene, Mehta had help from Phil Dunbridge, who works in the Admissions Department at Idyllwild Arts, but had a lot of “stage combat” (fight staging) experience in college.

“I really learned a lot from him with the fight scene,” Mehta said. “I told him that I wanted it to hurt to watch that scene, and he listened to me.”

Mehta laughed about some fights he’s seen in old “B” movies, in which the men’s hats remain on their heads.

The list of experts from different departments who helped with “Prima Ballerina Assoluta” grew as production neared. Ellen Rosas, head of the Idyllwild Arts Dance Department, choreographed all of the dance scenes. And Emma Gannon, a senior from the Creative Writing Department, was brought in to help with the dialogue.

“When this became a dance movie with lots of ‘girl chat,’ I realized that I needed some help,” Mehta said. “Emma is great with all kinds of dialogue, and character stuff too.”

Most of the scenes from “Prima Ballerina Assoluta” were shot on campus, including the sound stage, Pearson and Lower Wayne dorms.

After the screenings, Mehta plans to send the short film to a variety of film festivals in the area.

Screenings of “Prima Ballerina Assoluta,” and other short films produced by students in the Idyllwild Arts Moving Pictures Department, will be held at the Rustic Theater on North Circle Drive on Friday and Saturday, May 28 & 29. All shows are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Idyllwild Arts Academy at (951) 659-2171 or visit

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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