Arts & Culture

Film ‘EXPO’ experiments with alternative media

From documentaries to animations, BMP and PREVIEW’s collaboration reveals breadth of media

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Brown Motion Pictures’ EXPO showcased multimedia student film work, including Adam Hersko-Ronatas’ ’16 “Cloudy Busey - Overcame the Sun.”

Brown Motion Pictures teamed up with PREVIEW to distort the social conventions of media at EXPO Volume II in the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts Friday night. The pieces ranged from experimental animations to audiovisual montages to documentaries.

EXPO featured 18 student works that aim to change the public’s perception of narrative, audiovisual and conceptual film. These works introduced the audience to the ways in which film can be manipulated to focus on particular elements, or lack thereof, through experimentation. EXPO was spearheaded by co-founders Maria Paz Almenara ’16 and Alif Ibrahim ’16, a technology director for BMP.

Pom Bunsermvicha ’16, creator of the documentary “Grandma,” said she developed the film as part of her senior thesis, and it is currently in the early stages of development. Bunsermvicha added that she has also shown the film to Thai producers, who have expressed interest in her work.

John Filmanowicz ’17, creator of the computer animation clip “Mouthful,” said, “This animation was actually an assignment for a computer science class I wanted to get into. It was an opportunity for me to learn animation and have some fun.”

This is the second time that EXPO has run on campus, so the collaboration is still getting off the ground. But EXPO is already seeing success. The theater was filled with students, parents and families supporting the artists and appreciating the multimedia work.

More than anything, the screen showcased truth, relationships and the human experience.

In the narrative documentary “Daytime Rider” by Rainey Zimmermann ’19, two young girls, Sylvi and Amy, develop their friendship through blind exploration and life’s journey to understand the world. The plot centered around Sylvi’s journey to find her way back home after Amy dropped her off in the middle of woods. The film elicited a variety of emotions: uncertainty, worry, anxiety, peace and knowledge. As the credits appeared on the screen, the viewer gained  a sense of closure, with clarity in the duo’s learning process.

Filmanowicz’s computer animation clip “Mouthful” showcased the power with which inanimate objects can connect the human experience. It centered on a simple visual: two disembodied hands reaching for popcorn and brushing up against each other while taking a mouthful. But the creation of the clip, which lasted a minute and a half, was far from simple. “It took me 12 hours to create,” Filmanowicz said, “It was longer than I’d like to admit, but it was fun to learn the program.” The tedious process proved successful — the audience chuckled at the awkward romantic touch and applauded at the end of the clip.

Bunsermvicha took a different approach with her documentary, “Grandma.” She chronicled the daily life of her friend’s Thai grandmother on camera and documented her addiction to illicit black market gambling.

“I captured everything I could in one day from 7 a.m. to sundown. It was no problem getting (the grandmother) to act natural on camera, but there were so many problems getting her to do what I envisioned. Eighty percent of the time she just stared at the camera, which caused some editing issues,” Bunsermvicha said. “I’m excited to keep working on the documentary throughout the year and add more footage.”

With diverse interests, students can have autonomy in discovering passions and pursuits. “The students involved have many majors and their work provides an opportunity to do something independent from their classes,” said Sarah Cheung ’16, managing director for BMP.

In this way, BMP provides students a creative outlet for multimedia work. “There is no other platform at Brown that allows people to show their independent media artwork,” Cheung said.

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