After undergoing a shift to online presentation, IU’s annual Double Exposure film screening will debut 12 student-made short films from 7-7:54 p.m. April 9 over Zoom. The event is a collaboration between the Media School, the Jacobs School of Music, the departments of Composition and Audio Engineering and Sound Production, the Music Scoring for Visual Media Program and IU Cinema.
Some edits to the program have been made to accommodate the online performance. Usually the scores are played live alongside the films, but this year they were recorded in advance.
At the event, viewers will be shown an introduction before being redirected to the screening page. They will then be shown the series of short films.
Susanne Schwibs is a main collaborator on the screening and a Media School professor. Having worked on the festival for multiple years, she said she sees firsthand the progress students make over the course of their work. The program benefits students in all departments by allowing them to collaborate and work creatively in ways they may not otherwise, Schwibs said.
“It’s special for everybody,” Schwibs said. “It’s special for the film students, because they get really good scores and they get to work with different departments, between music and sound.”
The student projects begin in Schwibs’ class, Advanced Production — Double Exposure, where film students pitch their film ideas and are paired with student composers. Student filmmaker Bonnie Weinzapfel described the initial process as “speed dating.” Once filmmakers were paired with a composer and sound designer, the process became easier, she said.
“We would all pitch our ideas together,” Weinzapfel said. “We would present lookbooks and scripts, and they had suggestions. So it was very collaborative in that sense, which I’m very grateful for.”
Student composer Graeme Culpepper said he agrees. He’d studied composing for the stage, but he said composing for the screen and working with dialogue and narrative was new to him.
He said working alongside a filmmaker was a particularly interesting experience.
“We do have our creative freedom, but we are in a way meant to deliver what’s expected of the filmmaker,” Culpepper said. “So it’s very interesting to be kind of guided in the direction they want to go.”
According to the event’s web page, Weinzapfel and Culpepper, alongside sound designer Ben Wesenberg, are collaborating on the short film “Fort Anderson.”
Schwibs said she’s disappointed the films will be screened online. Though the end product will technically be the same, they’re losing a moment of celebration for the students, she said.
“It’s always a really special occasion for us as teachers, but also for the students to see their films on the big screen in the IU cinema and to have that live vibe of the orchestra playing as the film is played,” Schwibbs said. “I mean, that’s just really special, and you can’t replace that.”
Larry Groupé, an associate professor of composition and collaborator on the festival, said he agrees, but he’s trying to look on the bright side. From his perspective, a recorded score allows players and composers alike to ensure that the score is played perfectly.
“We get to spend more time on the recording and be really, really meticulous,” Groupé said. “What we’re losing a little bit with that is just the spontaneity of what happens in a live show, but because these are synchronized scores to the picture, we can get them exactly where we want them.”