First Take Film Festival

Credit: Ricardo Ramirez

Credit: Ricardo Ramirez

For those of you who don’t know about the First Take Film Festival hosted by Studio 22, it’s pretty awesome. Studio 22, the on campus video production team, aims to use this Film Festival to promote student filmmakers who live on the hill. It’s a great way to get your film shown to a large audience and get a gauge of how well received your film was. The top film will also get a prize! For those of you that want to know more about the process of submitting a film to this year’s festival, we talked to two Studio 22 filmmakers, Morgan and Ricardo, to get their perspectives!

What was the name of the film you submitted for last year’s festival?

Morgan: Tom Robbin’s Jitterbug Perfume: Pages 10-13 1/2

Ricardo: Days Gone Bye

What was it about?

M: Cousins and business partners, Claude and Marcel, contemplate the power and meaning behind the sense of smell.

R: It is about a father who struggles on a daily basis in coming to terms with killing his daughter in a zombie apocalypse after being infected.

What inspired the premise of this movie?

M: I love the book Jitterbug Perfume and thought it would be cool to create a visual representation of a very quick little moment between two of the characters. The novel is kinda epic, so I decided to literally do 3.5 pages — that’s why its “pages 10-13 and a half.”

R: The film was made for a class project where you were suppose to take a written piece and turn it into a visual piece. I had read Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead in 2010 and was greatly moved by the comics so naturally I wanted to adapt that.

Could you tell us about any challenges your team faced during the shoot?

M: I can’t remember the challenges, honestly. Every film has challenges and problems, with weird and unexpected solutions. It’s part of the fun.

R: We had to have a little girl in zombie make up which if you can imagine and have ever been around kids you would know that its hard to get them to do anything for a long period of time. She had to sit in make up for over an hour. She then had a breakdown because she didn’t like seeing herself in the zombie make up. We had a crying little zombie on set, I almost called the shoot off. Also the father daughter scene was suppose to be outdoors but it was raining that day so it became an indoor scene. I would not want to relive that day haha.

What is the most rewarding aspect of making a film for the festival?

M: It feels so good to sit back and watch an audience experience your film on a big screen. It’s the whole reason we make movies.

R: For me it’s always watching it with the audience and hearing how they respond. Winning (or losing) and the comments you receive after are gratifying.

What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?

M: I shouldn’t give advice. I need advice! I guess: practice, practice, practice!!!  And to be true to yourself and how you uniquely see the world.

R: Everyone says go out there and make stuff, and I can only speak for myself, but I like to take my time and really dwell on my projects. I make projects from time to time because I want to make sure I really have it right this time(which I know I wont) but I will definitely try to make it the best that it could be.

What is your most memorable moment from participating in first take film festival?

M: It’s hard to say. I really loved seeing everyone’s film. It’s nice to see what people outside the film school are making.

R: Every film festival allows for a new pair eyes to see your work, this is important in seeing yourself grow. I like to pretend I didn’t have a film in the festival and hear what people have to say, for better or worse.

Morgan Peterson is a senior majoring in film.
Ricardo Ramirez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Smuggled into United States at a young age, he struggled to find his place as an immigrant. Not being able to work after high school, he looked to education to be the stepping stone into a better life. This is where he began writing and making films, knowing as a storyteller your residency doesn’t matter. At the age of 21 he became a resident continuing his education but work would replace story telling. Upon finishing community college he decided to give everything else up and merge his education and story telling. Ricardo would be accepted into UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television as an Undergrad. He is currently completing his thesis film Year After, in his last year at UCLA. During his time he has worked as a 1st and 2nd AC, 2nd AD, grip, DIT, writer, director, editor and is currently co-producing a Graduate film.
FYI: Deadline May 1
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