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MSU Students Premiere Work at Film Festival

Michigan State University and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences premiered the first MSU student-produced feature film at the 2015 Traverse City Film Festival in Traverse City, Michigan (July 28-Aug. 2, 2015).

The film, “(313) Choices,” was a large-scale, collaborative project between MSU’s Media Sandbox, Department of Theatre and College of Music.

Created entirely by students, the full-length feature film started as an original student play that was adapted for the screen with the talents of the student cast and crew.

More than 100 MSU undergraduates participated in this extracurricular “Theatre 2 Film” project, serving as the actors, directors, cinematographers, composers, writers, editors, producers and art directors involved in every aspect of the production.

“Making feature-length, dramatic films is almost unheard of at most universities and film schools,” said David Wheeler, director of the Media Sandbox. “It’s a daunting task, but we pulled it off. I’m very proud of our students.”

A contemporary human drama, “(313) Choices” consists of several interlaced stories about young adults faced with life-altering decisions set in and around Detroit .

TCFF also featured screenings of four MSU student-produced documentaries, as well as an MSU Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab game design and development showcase.

The four films include:

  • “The Geography of Hope,” a documentary about the Media Sandbox Street Team’s spring break trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks to document the accessibility features at these parks.
  • “Unchecking the box,” which explores the changing ideas of racial identity in America through the lens of MSU students and professors.
  • “Gay from Gaylord,” a documentary about a young stand-up comedian and the challenges he faced growing up gay in a small Michigan town.
  • “Reservations,” a comedy in which a young man inherits a troubled, run-down, terribly managed hotel.

Both “Unchecking the Box” and “Gay from Gaylord” were completed as part of the documentary specialization capstone course and premiered earlier this year in Okemos, Mich.

For more information on the festival, see the Traverse City Film Festival website: http://www.traversecityfilmfest.org/.

- Tom Oswald , Nicole Szymczak via MSU Today

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