On April 14, The Ubyssey followed the smell of popcorn to the Norm Theatre for the screening of two original short films by the UBC Film Society.
Dora Dubber, chairperson of Film Society and producer of both films, explained that due to financial constraints, it has been about three years since FilmSoc has released any student productions, making this debut screening a major milestone for the club.
To kick off the night, the club premiered Jake Nesbit, Sara Trapara and Eloane Venkatapen’s, Angel Valentino. The comedy follows the story of a young couple who encounter trouble on a date. After delivering bad news, the eponymous protagonist struggles to convince his partner of the truth.
Angel Valentino had all the charm of a student-produced film, but that may have also been its downfall. The predictable plot was supplemented by conventional camerawork, and from a first glance it was obviously a student production. To the film’s credit, everyone in the theatre did have a few hearty laughs at the jokes.
Perhaps the most successful aspect of the work was its familiarity. Filmed in the recognizable Sprouts Cafe, the student-run establishment was in disguise on-screen as The Cow’s Udder. Characters are no exception when it comes to familiarity in this film. Whether it’s Angel Valentino or the airhead-surfer-dude waiter, the audience probably thought: “I know someone like that!”
Following that was the premier of Ashlee Catonio's Nintendo. Unlike Angel Valentino, Catonio’s film had an air of refinement to it. The creative framing and use of recurring motifs, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System console and burning incense to signify the passing of time, was a delightful and commendable component of the film. Not only were the shots visually striking, but the story itself was revealed in an intriguing way that kept the audience guessing until the very end.
The film tells the story of a couple who has previously agreed to a deal involving a Nintendo game. Right away it becomes clear that the boyfriend has lost the bet, but when the female protagonist arrives at his house to collect her winnings, he is reluctant to hold up on his end of the bargain. By the end, the story still remains ambiguous and frankly feels incomplete. It is unclear whether this was an intentional artistic choice or not.
This screening was ultimately a celebration of student creativity, and a showcasing of what students are capable of when given the chance, said Dubber. “The point of productions was to provide a space for people who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to produce a film... here’s equipment, here's opportunity, take it.”
While Dubber thinks the club will only produce one film in the coming academic year because of renovations in the old SUB, she hopes to continue engaging students in film.
The short films are viewable on UBC Film Society’s website.