The University of Arizona School of Theatre, Film and Television’s 15th annual I Dream In Widescreen student film festival faced several challenges this year due to COVID-19. However, these complications turned the showcase into an online festival, allowing more viewers to see the student films than ever before.
Originally planned to be hosted at the Fox Theatre, I Dream In Widescreen will be held on Aug. 8th and 9th on Youtube live.
I Dream in Widescreen is the end of the year showcase for undergraduate thesis films. Typically, the films are viewed and juried by alumni followed by a party. This year, the films will still be juried in the same way but will also include guest speakers and talks from alumni as well as others in the industry.
The timing of the pandemic’s onset put the students in a tough position by not allowing them the immediate opportunity to finish their films. Lisanne Skyler, professor at the School of Theatre, Film and Television, explains how the school addressed this problem.
“This year, the lockdown happened as the filmmakers were all in post-production,” Skyler said. “So, fortunately, they were at picture-lock which means they had shot their films and they had made their story edits but they still had a lot to do and they couldn’t access anything on campus because it wasn’t safe.”
When discussing possible solutions, Sklyer came up with the idea of reaching out to Scott Weber, a professional sound mixer and professor in the industry. Weber operates a studio at his home and was able to help the students with their sound design.
“This is a good opportunity where I could come in and help with that, not only to physically mix the films so they get finished but I sort of pitched the idea to use this as sort of a teaching opportunity and a mentorship,” Weber said.
Through a series of individual and group Zoom calls, Weber was able to give the film students suggestions and advice.
“There was no time where we could safely have it in person, so we said let’s take this moment and get a wider audience for your films. So that’s how we came to not only put the films online but to really make this into an event to bring together our alumni community. Many prominent alumni luminaries are involved,” Skyler said.
Previous editions of the event did not include guest speakers. Some of the names joining the event include Eyde Belasco, the casting director for Transparent, Sorry to Bother You, and 500 Days of Summer. Scott Stuber, alum and head of original films at Netflix, is doing the kickoff talk.
I Dream In Widescreen will be hosted on the UA School of Theatre, Film and Television’s Youtube channel starting on Saturday, Aug. 8. For more information, visit idiw.tftv.arizona.edu