Students Produce Documentary on Film

Pictured from left to right: Pamela Johns, Caleb Wagner, Morgan Marx, Rosa Wells, Mate Aman, Cole Seidl, Justin Hill, Jared Sather, Geoff Gillmor, David Ishida

Augsburg film keystone students produce documentary on film

For most film majors the final production course they take before graduation is FLM 495. In this keystone course students brainstorm, pitch story ideas, plan, and then produce a documentary as a group effort. This course demonstrates how important cooperation, communication, and efficient workflow are to film production. Rosa Wells remarked, “It [the film keystone course] was a very valuable experience for me. It helped me see that I really need to get better at working with others, being stronger in my opinions, taking more initiative and helping to push others to do their best work.”

The project the students produced was entitled Reflections on Cinema, and attempted to investigate whether the film industry has changed with increased access to technology. Or to put in another way: Is film dead?

“The consensus was that it was not necessary for an artist to be formally educated to make great art,” said Cole Seidl. He added, “I agree with this, but I’d elaborate further. It’s not necessary for an artist to have formal education, but for an artist to discover who he or she truly is (as an artist) the time, the people, and resources available in a formal educational environment are greatly beneficial.”

Cole’s immediate plans upon graduation are to teach high school English in Taipei, Taiwan. “I feel that if there is one single thing that could be guaranteed to improve one’s filmmaking, it’s world experience,” he said.

For this project, ten students interviewed four individuals involved in various levels in the Twin Cities film scene. The resulting 10-minute documentary was screened for the first time on April 29th, 2012 on Augsburg’s campus. The group plans to enter the project in several local and national festivals.

Another in the class, Caleb Wagner, was pleased with the finished keystone project. He said, “In addition to providing me with a college education and training in my fields of study, Augsburg College has provided me with life experiences that have helped me become the person I am today. Living in such a diverse neighborhood and campus has opened my eyes to issues and worldviews that I never experienced before.”