Student-produced movie to debut tonight

Sean Ammerman

After a semester of hard work, the African-American Affairs Practicum class will unveil its finished product tonight.

As part of a class project, students put together a 30-minute horror film titled For Her, which will be shown at 7 p.m. at the African Community Theatre in Oscar Ritchie Hall.

The plot centers around a mysterious chain e-mail sent to students around campus. After a group of friends neglect forwarding it, people start disappearing and terror ensues. The plot unfolds to a Hitchcock-style surprise ending.

Sophomore journalism major Kevin Clark, who wrote the screenplay with four other students in the class, said the final cut exceeded his expectations.

“With this project, everyone had a job,” he said, “and I think it looks very polished.”

Everything from casting to cinematography to editing was divided among the students in the class.

Gwen Jimmere, a television and film production graduate student, was chosen to direct the film.

“I am ecstatic about it,” Jimmere said. “I’ve done another film before, but it wasn’t this detailed.”

Creating the movie brought many challenges, she said. The students worked with a shoe-string budget while sticking to a strict schedule – five days of casting followed by two weekends for shooting.

“We would start at noon and be up until 4 or 5 in the morning,” she said. “That very small time period we had to work on it was the biggest challenge.”

After shooting came two weeks of editing. This was done by Joseph Seaman, senior electronic media major. He has taken the class before and is now a student instructor and chief editor.

It was up to Seaman to work the visuals together with the music and sound into a finished whole.

“It was a challenge because we’ve never done a horror movie before,” Seaman said. “And I had to somehow make the movie scarier.”

“We’re trying to give them real-life experience,” professor Traci Williams said. “So they have to understand when you do a film, this is what it takes.”

The class is not exclusive to black students or students with media-related majors, Williams said. There are no prerequisites and students can take the three credit class up to four times.

“I run this class like a film set,” she said. “And it’s very hard to write a film, film it and edit it in one semester. If you can’t take it seriously, don’t take the class because it will affect your grade.”

Williams took a backseat role when the actual filming began, Jimmere said, and allowed the students to take full creative control.

For Her will have an encore performance Thursday at 7 p.m. Admission is $3 for students and $5 for the general public.

Revenue from the film’s performances along with DVD sales will go toward the budget for next semester’s film.

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Sean Ammerman at [email protected].