Cinema department rolls out red carpet for Film Friendsy awards ceremony

Cinema department rolls out red carpet for Film Friendsy awards ceremony

Sophomore cinema major Nate Richardson poses as an unconscious body for Team Holt’s film. Photo courtesy of Lily Scott.

A weekend of pushing creative and technical limits will conclude tonight with a screening and awards ceremony.

Film Friendsy is a film competition that commenced Friday at 3 p.m. when 40 Lee students were assigned a team, coach, genre, special prop and line of dialogue for their project.

This exercise first began in 2018 when Assistant Professor of Cinema Beecher Reuning created an opportunity for students to experience working on a film set and collaborating with a crew.

“The idea behind the event is simple,” Reuning said. “It’s one weekend, early in the year that gives anyone the opportunity to be a part of a film set and connect with other students of different experience levels, majors and interests.”

Reuning said the event helped students form bonds through diving into real-world experience.

“There's a bonding that takes place when students are thrown into the deep end of filmmaking and they have to work together to get out,” Reuning said.

One of the five teams congregated in a communications building computer lab, fine-tuning the final color and sound with only two hours before their Sunday evening deadline.

Stephanie Iovescu, a senior digital media major with a cinema emphasis, worked as her crew’s director of photography.

“There were people still filming this morning, so we’re pretty ahead of the game,” Iovescu said. 

According to Iovescu, the most challenging aspect of Film Friendsy is the lack of sleep. It is typical for a crew to finish on set at 1 a.m., only to return at 6 a.m.

Iovescu competed last year and said she is acquainted with the sleep deprivation; however, the benefits of the experience outweighed the stressful deadline.

“It teaches you to work well under pressure,” Iovescu said. “When you’re in the film industry, you’ve only got so much time to turn around.”

Dr. Jeff Salyer, director of media services, said he enjoyed coaching one of the teams, as the students are equipped with an opportunity he did not have as a Lee student.

“We still lived in the analog world of production,” Salyer said. “The editing time alone would have taken way too much time to complete in 48 hours. I'm very proud of where [Lee has] come since I came as a student 22 years ago.”

This kind of experience was not available while Reuning was studying at Lee, either.

“I was on my first true short film set my junior year at Lee, and it opened my eyes to what filmmaking could be,” Reuning said. “Until that point, I thought filmmaking was a solo act, where I convince friends to help out at every corner, but when I was a part of a crew, I realized that cinema is a team sport.”

Photo courtesy of Professor Reuning.

Reuning said he would have benefited from the experience his freshman year of college but thinks that Lee needed to progress more before this could take place.

“I wish I could have had that experience my freshman year, right off the bat,” Reuning said, “but I also don't think Lee was ready for that at that time. I think last year was the perfect year for it to start.”

The Film Friendsy awards ceremony will include the viewing of five films, ranging between three and six minutes each. It begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. and will be held in the Doris Johnson Screening Room in the Communication Arts Building (CAB 114).

This event is free and open to the public.

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