Arts & Culture

BMP to premiere four student-made shorts

With expanded outreach, BMP hopes variety of films will bring increased attendance

By and
Contributing Writer and Staff Writer
Friday, December 5, 2014

Brown Motion Pictures productions unite people with different levels of experience and promote “bonding as a crew,” said Lauren Cheung ’15.

In the culmination of a semester’s casting, filming and producing, Brown Motion Pictures will host its biannual short film premiere Friday evening in Salomon 101.

Toward the end of each semester, BMP screens a series of student-written films, which are produced by BMP staff, directors and writers throughout the semester. Slated to premiere this fall are “[BALLOTS],” “The Five Stages,” “I Will Go Mad” and “Superfood.”

“The Five Stages” follows a man who “learns the five stages of grief while driving to his father’s wedding,” according to the Facebook event page.

“My film is a road trip film, so we filmed in a lot of places away from campus — 45-minute drives out to Cranston and Beavertail,” said Lauren Cheung ’15, the film’s director, adding that filming occurred primarily during the weekend because of scheduling conflicts during the week.

“[BALLOTS],” another film premiering Friday, recounts the story of a local election in which the ballot box containing all the votes goes missing. The characters must search for it in a plot that director Marcus Sudac ’17, a former Herald staff writer, called “an allegory for the inefficiencies and greater flaws in the American political process.”

Sudac said he applied to be a director shortly before the start of the semester. Filming for “[BALLOTS]” began in October and ended Nov. 16.
Cheung, who has worked as a head of production, director of photography, assistant cameraperson and executive producer, said BMP tries to “pair people up with who they’ll learn from the best because it is also a teaching organization.”

“Not everyone has the same background or level of experience, but I think that’s also what makes it so great,” she said. “It brings together people who have never done filmmaking before with people who have, and you guys both end up learning from each other and bonding as a crew.”

She said gathering members can be difficult for the organization. “It’s very hard to coordinate a group of volunteers to do something like film because it’s such a time-intensive art.” She also said differing levels of experience among crew members can occasionally lead to difficulties, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Sudac, a BMP veteran who started producing films in the fall of 2013, said the organization is great for “getting you the team you need.” But he noted what he perceived to be a disparity in funding between BMP and other student organizations, adding that he believes the University should provide BMP with more adequate financial support.

The number of people going to premieres has increased in the past year, said Angela Guo ’16, head of production. The organization has been trying to increase its publicity efforts to better share its members’ art.

Publicity team member Devika Girish ’17 credits greater awareness of BMP and attendance at premieres to the expansion of BMP’s publicity team. Before the club transitioned from Brown Student Television to BMP, all promotion and publicity were handled by two members of its executive board. In the year since BMP’s rebranding, the club has created a separate promotions department, including a graphic design team in order to meet the needs of the expanding organization.

The club’s activities also now include workshops, tech talks, “industry talks” and screenings of films through the organization’s partnership with NBCUniversal, Girish said. The publicity team aims to make sure “this expansion in production is accompanied by an expansion in branding,” Girish said.

The strongest points of BMP’s publicity efforts are its “emphasis and insistence on graphics,” as well as its work on the group’s social media presence, Girish said. The team’s “biggest project” has been to develop a visual “BMP brand,” including “a signature logo that everyone can recognize.” Leading up to the end-of-semester screenings, BMP’s publicity team members have also increased the organization’s multimedia presence, posting film stills from productions and written profiles about BMP members.

But the organization had already transitioned to short films instead of television programming even before its name change from BTV to BMP, Guo said. The executive board finally chose to change the name to better reflect the organization’s mission last year.
“They finally changed the name, and they used that name change as an opportunity to relaunch the organization. We created a new logo along with our new name. It was kind of like the birth of a new era,” Guo said.