What to Look Forward to this Spring From Advanced Cinema Production


Students in Professor Zak Lee’s Advanced Cinema Production class are already well underway in the process of creating their film projects for this semester. The class is currently split into two different groups, each working on their own short film productions, “Will-O-The-Wisp” and “Silver Lining.” Students in this class work on one project for the entire semester to create a short film, all taking different roles in production such as director, producer, editor, cinematographer, and many more.

“Will-O-The-Wisp” is one of the two advanced projects, directed by Emily Gelinas, and produced by Sam Boland, who are both junior film students. Directing and producing are very different jobs, despite sometimes being lumped together.

“A director is more of the creative side of filmmaking, so they’re going to be looking more at the artistic type of stuff, directing the actors on how to act, and talking with the cinematographer about how the shots should look.” Gelinas explained.

“I think I’m more of the logistics side of things, with this specifically I’m doing a lot of fundraising, so that comes with budget, things like that, and then also location scouting as well. During pre-production, I’m making sure everyone is doing their job, which is my job.” Boland added when prompted on his role as producer.

“Will-O-The-Wisp, is a short film, a drama, romance short film about two girls who are on the run from the police, and they decide to spend the night at a motel,” said Gelinas about the plot of the film.

“I’m really excited to work with the actors, I think the script is a very intimate script that requires really well trained actors,” said Gelinas.

“I’m excited to work with like-minded people that want to get a good product.” Emily explained about what she was looking forward to most in the production of “Will-O-The-Wisp.”

“We have a group where everyone wants it just as much as the next person, and that’s just allowing us to take our film from great to excellent.” Boland added.

Advanced film students are expected to work out all of the logistics of writing, filming by themselves outside of class, and scheduling meetings and film dates on their own time. It’s a lot of work, and comes with many challenges for students.

“This film’s gonna be tough. Our professor [Zak Lee] says ‘it’s not about if something goes wrong it’s about when something goes wrong how you fix it.’ So something’s going to go wrong, but like I said before we have that group that wants it enough that we’re going to be able to fix a problem because we want to get this done,” Boland commented on the challenges the group anticipates for this project.

In addition to the work being done on “Will-O-The-Wisp”, the other student project being produced in advanced cinema production is “Silver Lining”. “Silver Lining” is a short film directed by Sean-Michael Hibbert, a senior film student.

“Silver Lining is about a man who just recently found out about some life changing news, so he’s trying to reunite with his old friends to have the best night possible, but because of the life changing news and also some drama that he doesn’t know about between his friend group, it starts to get away to the point where everything ends up coming to this big climax where he has to reveal what that life changing event is and why he’s ended up reuniting everyone in the first place,” Hibbert explained the premise of the film.

“During the break, my crew and I have been doing weekly table reads, just to make sure that the actions and the dialogue and the concept of story is to everyone’s liking, because one of the things I want the script to be is not just my own work but the crew’s work at the same time, so everyone has their own input. At this point we’re at a version of the script that everyone seems to like.” Said Hibbert.

“My favorite directors have always been Sam Raimi and Edgar Wright,” Hibbert remarked.

“Especially with Sam Raimi he usually has a style where he manages to put in different types of tones and make it work, and I wanted to do something similar with this project, where it can be happy, it can be sad, and there’s different visual aspects that let you know this is a happy moment, but I also want it to be effective to the point that all of the happiness is what leads to this very sad moment to the point where it’s like ‘damn, I did not see that coming’, to add a bit of a shock factor as well,” Hibbert explained about his hopes for the film.

When asked about the challenges anticipated for the production of Silver Lining, Hibbert also echoed the words of caution from Professor Lee: “We all know that it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when things go wrong, so we’re trying to minimize that as much as possible, but at the same time this is a learning process, even though it’s our last class we’re still all learning as film majors, and we’re just trying to make the best film possible, so we know that there’s going to be huge setbacks in the future, but we’re trying to do as we much as we can in the present to be as prepared as possible.” He explained.

Both films are anticipated to be completed by the end of the semester or the summer. If interested in keeping up with the projects in the meantime, they can be found at willothewisp_fsufilm and fsusilverlining on instagram, and Silver Lining on facebook.