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December 11, 2013 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-12-11

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6A Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Wednesday, December 11, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

EVENT PREVIEW
Festival to screen
students' cinema

Still waiting for
Wonder Woman

SAC productions to
hit the big screen at
Lightworks
By GIANCARLO BUONOMO
DailyArts Writer
The semester is winding down,
and all around, students are fin-
ishing up their final projects.
For students in the Screen Arts
& Cultures Department, they
too have a final assignment, but
it will go beyond handing in a
paper to professors. This week-
end, the Film and Video Student
Association will host the bian-
nual Lightworks Student Film
Festival (FVSA), which screens
films produced by SAC students
in their production courses.
The SAC Department allows
students to produce films in
many different genres, which is
sure to lead to an eclectic line-
up for the film festival. To high-
light diversity, the FVSA doesn't
organize the films into blocks by
genre.
"In recent years, we've start-
ed to mix it up, so you'll have a
documentary, an animation and
a dramatic film in one block,"
said LSA senior and FVSA board
member Ross Warman.
Most of the films are shot
using digital video, except for
the experimental film course,
which still shoots on physical
film. Many directors and critics,
including Christopher Nolan of
"The Dark Knight," believe film
provides a quality that video
can't replicate.
"Technology is increasingly
closing that gap, but there's a lot
to be said for film. It definitely has
a specific quality to it - just the

amount of information you can
get on the actual, physical piece of
film is incredible," Warman said.
Be it on film or video, SAC
students have plenty of work to
show. There are around 12 pro-
duction courses each semester,
and each class is usually split
into groups, each of which makes
multiple films over the course of
the semester. SAC students might
produce upward of 60 films in
one semester, ranging from two-
minute animations to complete
television episodes.
SAC is a unique department
because, in addition to its cours-
es on film history and theory, it
allows its students to produce
creative work. Students might
start out making short films that
they and their group members
act in, but then progress to longer
and more complex films. The pin-
nacle of production is SAC 423,
where students studying direct-
ing, screenwriting and acting
all collaborate to make a 20- to
30-minute film with substantial
production values.
"Whenever we have those, it's
a big deal," Warman said. "It's
just a massive undertaking, and
they automatically go to the Tra-
verse City Film Festival; we've
got the only two reserved spots
in that."
SAC 423 produces profession-
al quality films because it allows
students concentrating in spe-
cific aspects of film to contribute
their specific expertise.
"The scripts for those are
taken from the screenwriting
sub-concentration, so that the
people who are at the highest
level of the screenwriting con-
centration have their scripts
turned into the highest level of
film production," Warman said.

In addition, the actors are
usually culled from the School
of Music, Theatre & Dance, and
production designers from the
Penny W. Stamps School of Art &
Design.
"It's great to have that cross-
college interaction," Warman
said.
SAC 423 is only offered in the
winter, so those films will only be
shown in next semester's Light-
works Festival. But 423 is not
the only course that produces
high quality cinema. In SAC 300,
students are still responsible for
writing the script, casting actors
and even raising money to fund
production costs. The results
are often beyond what one might
expect from student filmmakers.
Among many past projects,
there is a six-minute piece from
the fall of 2006 titled "Where's
Dinner?" This highly imagina-
tive, black-and-white film is best
described as a mash-up of "Alice
and Wonderland" and "I Love
Lucy." In it, a husband and wife
decide to roast a turkey, only to
have the (surprisingly nimble)
raw bird escape out of the back of
the oven, which is a portal to an
Eden-like garden. Other exam-
ples can be found on the FVSA's
YouTube channel.
Any works screened at the
Lightworks Festival are the
result of many hours of hard
work. Some students will spend
Saturday and Sunday shooting
for 12 hours and weeks editing.
While the SAC Department pro-
vides resources and training, it is
up to the students to produce the
films.
"I am always impressed by
how organized (everyone is), by
how much stuff they're willingto
put together," Warman said.

I can't remember the name
of the first comic I ever
read. It wasn't even mine.
All that comes to mind is a
tattered, sad excuse for a
paperback
- peel-
ing at the
edges, the
text frayed
to the point
of near-
illegibility. ItA
was beyond AKSHAY
repair, SETH
barely held
together by
pieces of yellowing scotch tape
inside the spine to keep the
pages from drifting out.
When I climbed those
three metallic stairs onto the
unfamiliar yellow bus, terri-
fied of those unfamiliar faces
looking up, unblinking, from
those unfamiliar leather seats,
I didn't know I'd be meeting
a friend. When I sat down
next to him, he just smiled his
stupid smile. His hands were
clenched around the ragged
book, and when he offered it to
me, I stared.
Comic books disarm with
accessibility. The boxed panels
pull us in with their overbear-
ing displays of otherworldli-
ness, but we keep coming
back because there's comfort
in knowing someone as quiet
and unassuming as a geeky
high-school science nerd can so
forcibly change the world. Like
millions of others, I became
connected with Peter Parker.
No matter where I was in life,
I could bank on Pete still being
there, soldiering on behind
those tried ideals of responsibil-
ity and strength.
But part of the beauty of this
medium lies in its vastness -
there's a character for everyone,
and even if the stories follow a
similar framework, we tend to
identify with the personalities
we see traces of ourselves in.
For that reason, female protago-
nists, already lacking in a heav-
ily male-dominated superhero
universe, need to be given equal
footing.
Wonder Woman is a prime
example. In her 72 years, she
has become one of the most
recognizable, iconic feminist
symbols in pop culture. She has
her own series of comic books.
She has had her own popular
TV show. She has her own
themed plus-sized hoodies. So
why shouldn't she get her own
damn movie?
Well, she will. Kind of. Make
no mistake - Warner Bros.'
recent decision to include
Wonder Woman in the upcom-
ing "Superman vs. Batman"
extravaganza has its positives.
Including such a distinguish-
able female superhero is a
sign that studio executives are
finally willing to make moves
in the right direction, but this
recent announcement smacks of
money-grubbing impatience.
Seeing as there's speculation

that the
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e Flash may also make a Kent needed to slowly mull
g appearance, it's safe to over his problems. She was his
flling this film a blown- dartboard, nothing more, noth-
necessary Justice League ing less - a wooden dart board
x. Acknowledging that, it with less agency than a wooden
ly makes sense why War- trash can.
's. would like to shoehorn I don't doubt that Wonder
y characters as possible Woman will have one or two
is supposed "Man of badass action sequences in this
equel. The studio is too upcoming film, but if these
o follow Marvel's proven last two movies are anything
of building up individual to go by, she likely won't do
ses before launching a much else. Her personality will
ollaboration piece along remain sadly blank and her
s of "The Avengers." motivations completely tied
're already being pum- to those of either Superman
n market share for simi- or Batman. What'll be most
ic book adaptations, so interesting is seeing her inter-
or name-power alone to action with Lois Lane, because
ri awareness becomes an I'm willing to bet my measly
anded move that more monthly salary right now that
ndermines the individual they won't have a single line
ters Warner Brothers between them that doesn't have
content to throw under to do with our titular protago-
. Yet somehow, I doubt nists.
her Batman or Superman Perhaps what's most frus-
d up being marginalized, trating about this entire affair
because they're the only is the complete lack of judg-
roes that really need to be ment Warner Bros. showed in
the story while every- the actress they picked to play
e settles into their prede- Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot, of
ed roles as props. "Fast and Furious" fame, is a
it sexist that Wonder stick-thin Israeli supermodel
n will likely be one of who, simply put, isn't the large,
rops? A lot of people muscular warrior Wonder
en quick to point out Woman is supposed to be.
timately, this movie is But going deeper than just
r our Amazonian god- the physical discrepancies,
relax, boo boo, Warner Gadot hasn't really proven
simply testing the herself as anything other than
to make sure there's a pretty face in whatever mov-
relevant interest in the ies she has been in. Each of her
ero before taking the past Hollywood roles revolves
d giving her a stand- around obscurity or a slow-
ranchise of her own. motion scene in which she
,the movie will even go flashily twirls in front of the
s to pique the curiosity of camera in a bikini. Her slate of
oers unfamiliar with the past projects is so one-dimen-
books. sional, one can't help but won-
der if she was even required to
screen-test for the role. Part of
yder doesn't me seriously thinks the execu-
J d n tives who selected her knew
.eserve the exactly what they were going
for: eye candy.
am azonian If that's the case, it's not.only
a disservice to one of the most
w arrior. influential superheroes ever
made, but more importantly
to the millions of fans she has
affected.
tainly hope so, but if we My superhero was Spider-
r analysis off of director man, and in the little flick that
nyder's track record, this accompanied the turn of the
ill go about piquing inter- page, I understood why my
subjugating the Amazon friend hadn't thrown that tat-
ss to his unflinching male tered comic book away. We read
ad warped representa- it together. We made up the
f women characters. For words that were too faded to
les, just look at his last make out. And over the years,
ojects. "Sucker Punch," we began to see why it didn't
panned by critics as a matter how Peter Parker could
sL mess of a film, mas- climb up walls or heft entire
ed under the guise of cars using only his hands.
empowerment, but was I fell in love with comic books
out almost universally for because, they helped me be OK
lizing its pigtail donning, with who I was. Watching that
aked protagonists. reality brought to life in film
Man of Steel," Lois Lane was one of the most rewarding
e one of the weakest, experiences of my life.
edundant characters to I can only hope that one day,
cupy screentime. Rather Wonder Woman fans will be
ll out her role as an intel- able to say the same.

N
I

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Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Nonis and Joyce Nichols Lewis

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Pulitzer Prize-winning
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row her in (oftentimes
context) whenever Clark

Seth is wondering where
Wonder Woman's origin film is. To
assist, e-mail akse@umich.edu.

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FINALS WEEK GOT YOU DOWN?
TAKE A STUDY BREAK TO CHECK
OUT THE DAILY ARTS BLOG, THE
FILTER.
WWW.MICHIGANDAILY.COM/BLOGS/THE+FILTER
AND GOOD LUCK ON EXAMS!

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