On Nov. 6, a crowd of students entered the Ronna & Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, took their shoes off, filled their hand-made mugs with tea and sat down to watch five student-made films. Organized by students Aida Irving ’21 and Andrea Lewis ’21, the event, entitled “Frame by Frame,” was put on as part of artist-in-residence Roz Crews’s exhibition “When Research Can Be a Rainbow.” Irving said she helped organize the event so she could “combine (her) interest with films and collaborate with other students to present and investigate their own research and craft.” The event was broken up into two blocks of film screenings and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.
Sam Brown ’22 created the first film, “Summer’s Close.” The one and a half minute stop-motion film portrayed Brown’s summer spent at home in Connecticut. It featured scenes of family, animals and nature, which were all hand-drawn or painted using videos she took on her phone as inspiration. Composed of over 1,000 frames, Brown said she chose this style because she was influenced by someone she interned for who worked with the same style of hand-drawn animation.
The second film shown was “Self Soothing” by Ariel McGee ’21, who is on The Pioneer Log Editorial Board. It is a one minute series of vignettes that “sought to capture mental illness in a fond and honest way.” Opting for a self-portrait art style, McGee was the subject as well as the muse for her work, and the vignettes depicted her feelings of being invisible or overlooked (she disappears from each scene at the snap of her fingers). During the Q&A, McGee explained the process behind the piece.
“(I) had to learn how to direct someone (in how to film it) since it was a self-portrait, so that was a whole research project in itself,” McGee said.
She also explained how even though the video was less than a minute and a half long, “the whole process took 12 hours.”
“Shrimp Land, USA,” a documentary style film by Collin Serigne in which he documents his life and his family in coastal Louisiana was the third film shown. The 16 and a half minute video depicts his father, mother and grandfather as they go about their daily lives on the shrimp boat. It also breaks for brief interview periods with his family members.
Serigne discussed how he found it challenging to be playing a different role in a familiar environment. Instead of assisting his father and grandfather on the shrimp boat, he was there simply to observe them working.
“One of the things I had a lot of issues with … was because I’m from the area, and because I’m for the most part related to a lot of the people in the video … I was expected to do work,” Serigne said. “It was very strange going in with a new objective, to document.”
This film was part of Serigne’s high school senior thesis. It was played alongside 100 photos and three paintings and was surrounded, in gallery fashion, by a 30-foot-long shrimp net that his grandfather made.
The second to last film shown was “Lo Que Construimos” by Eva Magaña ’20, in which a young girl and her father are left in grief after the death of their mother/wife. Magaña’s film was produced as the culmination of a six week film program at UCLA, in which she was able to utilize the University’s facilities as well as their directors and editing staff.
“Drag PDX,” an 18-minute documentary presented by Julia Groves ’20 in which filmmakers interviewed and shadowed three drag queens to gain insight into the growing Portland drag scene, was the final film of the event. Groves articulated that this film “is a work in progress, (we) look forward to continuing once resources become available.” Groves hopes that entering “Drag PDX” into this event will lead to connections that allow her to continue the project and spread the word about Portland’s vibrant drag community.
For everyone in attendance, this event was a learning opportunity. It gave student artists the platform to showcase their talent and receive feedback from a captivated audience who gained unique insight into the filmmakers’ process.