Written by Bwog Staff
Sophomores Mike Molina and Rob Stenson (the kids who brought you this hilarity), along with Jeff Schwartz, are launching a crusade for as-yet-largely-nonexistent independent film at Columbia. It’s called Project Bluelight, modeled off the real-life Project Greenlight, which makes movies happen from storyboard to screening. Bwog interrogated them last night via e-mail.
Do you have any money? What facilities are you using?
We’re applying for money from basically every campus resource there is. CUArts, CCSC, ABC, etc., and will even be looking for money from alumni who are involved in the film industry. We’re looking to have a budget between $5,000 and $10,000 for the first project (which will be a short).
We’re still looking into what facilities Columbia has to offer, but we already own all of the editing software we would need.
Is there anything like this at other schools?
Not that we know of. Besides students making films for classes, a lot of other schools have programs that are designed to give undergraduates film production experience by working on professional or grad-student films. But the idea of going through this whole major process, start to finish, with all undergraduates is what seems to make this different. A lot of schools have clubs or organizations that make films themselves using the people in the club, rather than looking out to the entire undergraduate community for screenplays, directors, actors, etc. We basically want to get as many undergraduates involved as possible. This is not just about the script or the director or the actor. It’s everything. From finding the right script to tinkering with foley in post-production, we hope to see a
lot of people get behind this project.
Do you guys make films yourself? If so, what sort of films?
Mike: I was the eponymous role in the short film “The Messenger,” which was a heavily publicized short film that didn’t get to see its premier due to some unfortunate legal issues. Recently I have spent my time contemplating the process of getting a talent agent, which I may or may not follow through on. I am also currently working on a few screenplays- one is a romantic comedy and the other is an attempt to
explore some of the ideas used in "romance & cigarettes."
Jeff: I produced and co-wrote The Walden Variation. It was a low-budget feature film that I did over the summer with friends I have been working with from the NYU Film Program. It's currently in post-production and will go out to festivals all over the country by next summer. I've also made a few shorts and written a few other screenplays. Rob: I filmed a burning cardboard house in fourth grade. Now I do graphic design. What do you think of the current state of independent film at Columbia? Does it exist? It definitely exists, but it really seems to focus around the grad school, The School of the Arts, and for good reason--it's one of the best film schools in the world. The only way we know of to get film production experience on campus right now is through the grad school
program. But there is such a wealth of untapped talent, as well as interest, in filmmaking within the undergraduate community. So much more could be being done--and it could really produce incredible results each year. A huge part of film production is just going out there and doing it, learning from your mistakes, working with incredible people, and (hopefully) producing really cool results.
What are your favorite movies? Mike: Here are some: Punch-Drunk Love, Heavyweights, and The Deer Hunter. Jeff: Surprisingly the hardest question. Off the top of my head for today: Annie Hall, La Dolce Vita, American Beauty, High Fidelity. Rob: Helvetica.