May 2, 2008

Dutchess Community College: The 33rd Student Audio-Video Festival, Spring 2008 - Part II

Welcome back. This is part two of my look at the short student films during the 33rd running of the student show at Dutchess Community College in New York. It is a show that I was once a part of, many years ago. It was a fun night that saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. Without further adieu, lets get to it.

Com 234: This collection is a sampling of the projects that were recorded in the sound studio on the campus. The quality of the content varies wildly; some of the tunes just were not all that good, while others were quite interesting, however the recording quality tended to be quite good overall. Here is a listing of the songs sampled:

  • "Go Console Yourself"
  • "See You Next Tuesday"
  • "Soundtrack for Marriage Video"
  • "An Eventful Night"
  • "The Return"
  • "Wicked Lover"

Com 233: Sound Design for Animations Created in Art 162. This series of animations were quite good, not so much for the content, which was politically oriented for about half the time, but for the strong sound design. The effects and editing were quite good, often times ingenious.

The second portion of this section consisted of snips of radio dramas that the students produced. Now, we may have only gotten brief bits, but they were all well done and were good enough for me to be interested in the full pieces. The titles are:

  • Seeds of Deceit
  • Hippies Gone Wild
  • Unlikely Turn of Events

Com 211:

Plucking a Rose.
I do not recall the title, although I think I know what film this is. My apologies in advance if I got the title mixed with something else. The majority of this lengthy piece takes place at a dinner table over the span of a number of days. The parents argue about money and their son. It appears that they are undertakers, and are pleased about a serial murderer giving them plenty of business. It turns out that the son is involved and it is changing him, manifested physically by a drastic change in appearance. The film has a weird feel as the faces have all been digitally processed and have an odd, glassy/bug-eyed look to them.

Com 110:

Gestalt. Not sure what the point of this was. It depicted a young man standing up on a ledge and jumping off, presumably to his death.

Touch the Sound. This one was kind of cool. A girl wakes up and as her foot touches the floor, a piano note is heard. Each step is a note, the sound phenomenon continues with everything she moves from doors to toothpaste to breakfast cereal. There did not seem to be a point to this, but it was cute and well executed.

Pharm Party. This short ties in with the Oxycontin documentary from earlier in the show. It is essentially a PSA on pharm parties. These are parties where teens raid their parents' medicine cabinets and take their loot to a party where the partiers take random pills for whatever high they can get. It is dangerous and parents need to be aware. This was nicely done.

Dear Diary. A teen's diary is a private and scary place that no one should venture into, lest they invoke the wrath of a teen. This short has a girl's diary tampered with and her search for the culprit, with the surprising results. The boy has some good timing, and a nice Kramer-esque entrance.

Love Thy Roommate. This is simplistic, yet provides plenty of comedy. Two roommates are talking, they need to go out with one of the guy's fiancée and her friend, despite the other roomie being gay. All is well until it is revealed that the fiancée visited with the presumed gay man, resulting in something that no one wanted, and the potential murderous consequences.

Alvin's Luck. A young man gets up and has nothing but bad things happen to him. He is befallen by all manner of accidents, all of which add up to great comedy. This is another simple work that is effective in its comic execution.

Nightmare Ride. This is definitely one of the lesser shorts, although the main character has a couple of comical facial reactions. It centers on a Christine-like car that has murderous intentions directed towards its driver.

Mirrors of Resentment. This is another piece that is rather bad. It centers on a young man who is being haunted by himself, goading him into a fight he cannot possibly win.

Speed. Ever felt like you were sucked into a game so much that it seemed like reality? This short does that as a young guy plays a new car racing game. This is a concept that was done to great effect in the 1990's called Brainscan.

Help. I do not remember this one...

Here Now. This was funny because the acting was pretty bad. A guy returns to town, hooks up with an old flame, leaves while she sleeps, tries to apologize, she remains upset, is involved in an accident, and reveals a pregnancy. What else can go wrong for these two?

See Yourself In. If you enter a house, supposedly belonging to a friend, and all you find are empty beer bottles, and no one answers your calls, you'd best be heading out. That is the lesson learned in this mediocre piece.

Waiting. This is the one directed by my friend (yes, the friend who turned me on to the show), Rachaell Dama. It is a cute short about an outsider who fancies himself a superhero. Each day he puts on his cape and waits for something to happen. While he does this, he is subjected to the ridicule of anyone who happens to pass by. This triggers a fantasy where he kills the bully and rescues the girl. Not the best of the night, but definitely clever and well executed (even with the wildly over the top sound effects).

The Stitches of Life. I think I remember this. If I am correct, it concerns a young softball player who injures herself while practicing and must wait a long time to heal before she can play again. It is hampered by some bad dialogue and poor acting.

Roses for My Girlfriend. This is sad with a touch of depression. A young man buys some flowers and then takes the long walk to the cemetery to visit his girlfriend. Very touching, I hope it was not based on any actual event.

Blowing Bubbles. This falls to the side of the weird. A woman takes a balloon and visits some cardboard cutout people. She gets mad, puts nail polish all over the balloon and then meets a guy blowing bubbles, which they blow together. Okay.

Practical Office. Seemingly inspired by The Office, this short has a guy working a job while constantly being bugged for a report. One night, he takes his revenge in wonderful fashion. This was funny, and easy for a cubicle dweller to relate to.

Pitch This, Pitch That. This is a story of collaboration as two friends meet at a food joint and pitch a film to each other, before deciding their singular works would be better combined under a single banner. I am not sure if this was intended as comedy, but it was quite entertaining. It features a young man with Down's Syndrome.

Untitled. Title doesn't ring a bell...

Com 101:

Bad Dream. Some buddies are out camping. One of them gets upset, grabs his teddy bear, and proceeds to have a bad dream of exactly what he doesn't want to be.

A Night at the Club... Priceless! This warns that you always need to be aware of your surroundings, never knowing when an embarrassing moment may be recorded and redistributed for all to see, including those whom you don't want to see it. I liked it, but the narrative was not terribly clear.

Prisoner of Influence. Hmm, don't remember this one either.

Well, that about does it. I apologize to those whose films I did not recall, but I wanted to make sure all of the titles were listed.

Overall, it was an interesting nights of student work. Some of it was good, some bad, some ugly, and some seemed rather pointless. Despite the widely varying quality, the one quality that shone through them all was the desire to make something good. Everyone involved at every level will come away from the experience with something. Every experience offers something new to learn to apply to the next project they attempt.

Congratulations and best of luck to everyone whose work was shown here.


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