Showtime for Bright Screening Room West

By Dan O'Brien
March 19, 2014

The Bright Family Screening Room West at Emerson College Los Angeles had its first two official screenings last week, including one that featured “microdocumentary” films shot and edited with cutting-edge 4K technology.

The 4K format is a step up from high definition, commonly referred to as HD, which has become the standard in recent years for watching television and movies.

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Kevin Bright '76, director of Emerson LA, with 4K filmmaker Jeff Consiglio and Travis Sims of Red Digital Cinema, on March 14. (Photo by Dan O'Brien)

Filmmaker Jeff Consiglio, during a question and answer session after the screening of his work on Friday, March 14, told the audience, “This is the first time I’ve ever seen them in 4K!” referring to his series of short documentaries. Consiglio said he, like most filmmakers, doesn’t have all the equipment needed to view their work on 4K because the technology is so new.

“One of the limitations of 4K right now is you have to have this amazing equipment to watch it yourself,” he said.

On Wednesday, March 12, a capacity crowd filled the Bright Family Screening Room West for its first-ever screening, which featured three short films from young alumni that were not shot in 4K, but still featured a high quality.

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Nate Larkin-Connolly '07, John Weselcouch '07, and Ari Costa '07, at ELA following the screening of their short film, Born Yesterday. (Photo by Dan O'Brien)

One of the films was Born Yesterday, starring John Weselcouch ’07 and Larisa Oleynik, best known for her roles on 10 Things I Hate About You and The Secret World of Alex Mack. The comedy is about a child born to a couple who lives his entire life—from infancy to adulthood—in 24 hours, and physically ages over that time.

Weselcouch was in attendance for the screening, along with the film’s creators, Nate Larkin-Connolly ’07 and Ari Costa ’07.

Larisa

Larisa Oleynik in a screen shot from Born Yesterday

Quinn Marcus ’13, who regularly appears on mtvU, also attended and took questions after the premiere of her new short, Alone with People, a comedy starring her.

The fictionalized film is about a high school-aged woman in Georgia revealing to her family that she is gay. It’s loosely based on Marcus’s real-life experiences.

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Alone with People crew members Maytal Zchut '13, Drew Van Steenbergen '11, Quinn Marcus '13, and Andrew Merki, at Emerson Los Angeles on March 12. (Photo by Dan O'Brien)

“It’s funny but it’s [largely] a real story,” Marcus said. “In reality, funny things come from a lot of sad.”

Marcus and her co-producer, Drew Van Steenbergen ’11, raised $15,000 through Kickstarter to fund the project.

“It was a majority Emerson crew,” Van Steenbergen said before the screening. “It’s so great to have it premiere at Emerson’s new center in Los Angeles.”

The third movie that screened was also a comedy: All’s Fair by Todd Strauss-Schulson ’03 and Ken Franchi ’02. This film is about a man so devastated by his girlfriend’s recent breakup that he goes to great lengths to re-create their intimacy with a prostitute, which includes eating fancy takeout and watching movies on Netflix.

Consiglio, the filmmaker who shot in 4K, talked after his screening about the concept of “microdocumentaries.” Consiglio showed his 10 documentaries that were between 1 and 4 minutes long each, lasting a total of about 20 minutes.

“It’s an exercise of seeing everybody at a glimpse,” he said.

Kevin Bright ‘76, founding director of Emerson Los Angeles, noted in the screening that all of Consiglio’s microdocs focused on some sort of joy the subjects experienced in their lives. The microdocs ranged from a young woman listening to a record, to a man whose lifelong hobby is tree climbing, to a woman who harvests loquat trees. They also focused a married couple who make bourbon, a TV personality who likes to take naps, and an older man who can memorize trivia on every U.S. president.

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