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‘I Dream in Widescreen’ spotlights student films

Courtesy IDIW

Maggie Adams (left), Evan Colten (center), and Jack Alexander (right) will all have their work shown during “I Dream in Widescreen.” Twelve students in total will have their work shown during the event.

Some college seniors write thesis papers; others assemble a portfolio or complete a research project. Each major has some sort of senior capstone that requires students to utilize the skills they’ve learned over their past four years, and for those completing their Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in film and television, that capstone takes the form of a short film.

The annual ”I Dream in Widescreen” screening event is here to showcase the talent in the film and television graduating class. The 12 participating seniors have put in immense amounts of time, energy and creativity to put these projects together since before the first day of the fall semester, and this Saturday they will be brought to the big screen at the Fox Tucson Theatre.

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Margaret Adams is one of these film and television seniors eagerly awaiting the premiere of her film. Adams began writing her short film, “Glass,” two years ago, not originally intending to turn it into her senior film.

“My film is about a young woman, Elly, who has found herself at the cusp of adulthood,” said Adams, the writer, director and editor of the film. “She has a fight with her mother and she leaves. She ends up finding these two complete strangers and has this night with them and finds this sense of release and sense of freedom.”

The film was originally much longer than Adams intended, and the script went through 26 drafts before shooting began. For Adams, production was the most enjoyable part of the process as she had a cast and crew of close friends to support her through her directorial debut.

“Having it be a collaborative process was very important to me because I wanted to get other people’s input on something that was so personal,” Adams said. “In production, you’re in the battlefield, you’re in the nitty gritty and it’s incredibly rewarding and incredibly challenging and just so much fun.”

While Adams’ film is a coming-of-age drama, there is always variety among the films at “I Dream in Widescreen.” Evan Colten, a film and television senior, went the comedic route for his short film, “Pizza.”

The story follows a middle school English teacher trying to figure out why his students seem to have the answers to every test he administers.

“It’s tonally very inspired by the comedy in a John Hughes movie … but to try to give it this mystery, almost whodunit kind of style, it’s also very reminiscent of ‘Ocean’s Eleven,’” Colten said. “At the same time, it’s all strung together with this Latin guitar music that almost makes it feel like a telenovela.”

For Colten, the film really came to life in the post-production stage. An editor at heart, he said it was a difficult but rewarding process to put all the pieces together in the cutting room and watch the final product really come together.

With the premiere so soon, Colten is most anxious to see how the comedy plays for the audience.

“Tackling the genre of comedy is the biggest weight on my shoulders, because if they don’t laugh, I’m done,” Colten said. “The second you hear one person laugh, it’s such a relief.”

The majority of BFA Film and Television seniors created their own short films this year, but those who are interested in different areas of filmmaking had the opportunity to specialize in just that.

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Jack Alexander, a film and television senior, decided to do a cinematography emphasis for his senior capstone.

Alexander was the director of photography for three senior films: “Gun-Crossed Lovers” by Ricardo Salcido, “Daisies for Two” by Ana Quiñones and “Pizza” by Colten. Alexander also color-corrected the three films in post-production. The two areas of filmmaking are his favorite of the process.

“Leading up to production, there’s a lot of insecurity about what’s going to happen or what the outcome’s going to be,” Alexander said. “Once in production all that sort of goes away when you’re in the element and the confidence starts coming back.”

A full list of “I Dream in Widescreen” films, their filmmakers and the official event trailer can be found on the event’s website. Screening begins at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased for $5 either online, at the film and television office in the Marshall Building or at the door.

Take Alexander’s advice: “Come check it out; there’s 10 films and a lot of heart.”

Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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