A project that began in the Media Living Learning Center has turned three freshmen into a functioning production company.
Sam Oates, Andrew Torbenson and Spencer Bowman met in the Media LLC and worked with the rest of the floor to produce a short film, “Repopulate,” which will debut by the end of April. The three plan to continue working together under the name B6 Films.
The film revolves around themes of online dating in a peculiar setting, Bowman said.
Torbenson said the score is all original and the locations were also provided by an aunt of someone in the LLC. The Media LLC is a thematic housing community in Forest Quad, a dorm on the south east side of campus.
Production on the film began in December, but the process of building the initial team started on day one of living in the same dorm, Bowman said.
“We spent the first semester hanging out, becoming friends, and once that happened we realized we had a variety of talents,” Bowman said. “We thought, ‘If we can pull this together, we’d be able to create something really cool that we can put our hearts into.’”
Oates said he wrote as part of his application to be in the LLC that he thought a film would be the ideal collaborative project for the floor to take part in because of the range of skills each member would bring to such a project.
“One of the things I said was that, now that we have this huge group of kids that are very talented in a bunch of different ways, the perfect thing to do would be make a movie,” Oates said. “It’s the most forms of media in one. I figured from the first week when we were just getting used to each other, I said, ‘Let’s just make a movie.’”
With the exception of a few actors, most of the production team for “Repopulate” came from within the Media LLC.
Torbenson, the third co-owner of B6 Films, said he has years of film experience behind him.
But this is the first project in a while he has engaged in a creative capacity rather than just as a straightforward contract job.
“I’ve done one feature film, going to be working on a few projects over the summer, but it’s been a while since I’ve worked on a short film that I would call more of my own project,” Torbenson said. “Most of the time I’m working on other people’s projects in a small role.”
The decision to form the production company came from the team structure created in the process of making this film.
“We sort of piggybacked off of the production dynamic we created in the movie,” Bowman said. “The three of us are forming our dynamic together and figuring out how to bring other people in when we need them.”
Torbenson said he will be bringing the newfound group onboard as he goes onto his next projects.
“I get a lot of work thrown at me,” Torbenson said. “This company came to me asking for this limestone documentary, and I didn’t want to do it on my own because I felt like I could make a much better video if I included more people — my friends — so I wanted to expand out. I had just done this film, so that showed me, OK, we can actually do this.”
Through all the challenges and lessons, the film’s completion will be both a relief and a reward, Bowman said.
“It feels really good now because we have been putting so much effort into this without a definite payoff in that we’re not getting paid for this,” Bowman said. “We do it because we love it and we’re starting to see the fruits of our labor come together.”
Oates said the group hopes to include future Media LLC students in their upcoming projects, which Bowman calls “keeping it in the family.”
“We were actually talking about next year,” Oates said. “The RA who is one of our really good friends is still going to be the RA of the Media LLC next year. We were thinking of having interns – kids that just wanted to come help making movies. We could come back and ask them to help us.”