Next week, the senior Film and Media Studies majors will present their theses. The thesis event spans two days and showcases a range of fiction and documentary short films and feature-length screenplays. In addition to this, some seniors are writing critical essays analyzing unique and contemporary aspects of film and media.
This year’s film and media program senior class marks the largest class size to date, totaling 22 students. The film seniors proposed their ideas last May and eagerly awaited approval from the steering committee to begin their yearlong endeavors. Professor Dylan Nelson advises the seniors as they make films and craft screenplays, and professor Scott Kryzch advises the film seniors as they write critical essays. The seniors are further supported by the film and media program paraprofessional, Lila Schmitz, who works with the students to ensure that their theses are of the highest quality.
Each student or pair of students has chosen a unique topic to explore in their thesis project. The documentary films range from contemporary witchcraft to wild horses, while the fiction films examine stories of adoption, trivia obsessions, and leaving life up to chance.
Below is a preview of the thesis essay, screenings, and screenplays by this year’s seniors.
The film seniors will perform a dramatic reading of a scene from their screenplays or read an excerpt of their essays on Monday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in the Cornerstone Screening Room; dessert and coffee will be served afterwards. The thesis films will be shown on March 12 at 7 p.m. in Celeste Theater, predated by a reception in Cornerstone Main Space.
Thesis Critical Essays
“Documentaries on Sexual Assault: Sensationalizing Survivors and The Fantasy of ‘Starting Conversations’”
An investigation of the dramatizing techniques of the documentary form in film’s pertaining to sexual assault, and their place within Jodi Dean’s theory of communicative capitalism.
“Film as Future: Can the Silver Screen Be Revolutionary?”
If Contra Point’s Natalie Wynn is correct, then we are in the midst of an aesthetic era. In a world where aesthetics matter, can film be used to shape thought and people’s actions, perhaps even rivaling some of the great influencers of the enlightenment?
“The Reflexive Lens: Participatory Environmental Filmmaking”
An examination of how different levels of reflexivity affect the impact of messaging in environmental documentary.
Thesis Screenplay Dramatic Readings
“La Stessa Cosa”
Caught between warring identities, a gay mob boss attempts to balance the family he’s always wanted with the only family he’s ever known.
Jabu Ndlovu and Sam Suzuki
The superpower country of New Glory has closed off its borders, and the Body Corporation controls who comes and goes. Will a pair of ambitious and idealistic youths be enough to bring about real change?
“The Weight We Carry”
What begins as a mother’s heartfelt journey in search of a better life with her two daughters becomes a Mexican immigrant group’s struggle for survival at the hands of traditional pollero practices, brutal desert conditions, and minutemen.
Thesis Films: Documentary
Emmett de Maynadier and Kai Cintorino
Ambient pop musician Gwen navigates finances, mental health, and trans identity on her first-ever national tour with two childhood best friends.
Lily Green and Noelle Edwards
Over 300 years after The Salem Witch Trials, Salem’s witches are now manifesting change through magic(k).
“Fuel, Fire and Wild Horses”
A short documentary film that explores the complex issues of the American wild horse and its relationship with wildfire abatement in Northern California.
Thesis Films: Fiction
“As We Were”
Angel R. Martinez and Fengyi Xu
On a winter afternoon, Alex must realize the importance of family and her responsibility for her grandfather, remembering he had done the same for her when she was little.
“By Any Other Name”
An Ethiopian adoptee removed from her cultural heritage explores diasporic ties.
Ben Sommers and Willis Zetter
A young couple uses a coin flip to help make the menial and trivial decisions in their relationship. As time goes on, the coin begins to take on new meaning. What was once a fun way to pass the time soon becomes a destructive obsession.
Mary Sorich and Will Stockton
A short fiction film about losing your best friend.
Inspired by the song, “Taxi” by Harry Chapin. Former high school sweethearts, Harry and Sue, meet again after 25 years apart. They come to terms with the fact that life didn’t turn out how they hoped it would.
Addison Knight and Josh Lauer
A quirky romantic comedy about a woman obsessed with trivia and her quest to find a friend.