Idyllwild Arts Film students show that nothing could be better

Idyllwild Arts Academy film students at work. Photo courtesy idyllwild arts foundation

By Don Stoll
Idyllwild Arts Manager of Communications and International Student Relations

Idyllwild Arts Academy’s film and digital media students will showcase their films — and show why they often ask “What could be better than this?” — on Wednesday, May 15, in the William M. Lowman Concert Hall.
At 3 p.m. and then at 6:30 p.m., six graduating seniors and one departing postgraduate student, along with their younger colleagues, will screen 25 films (some with adult language and content) for the Idyllwild Arts community and the general public.
And starting at 3 p.m., the Lowman Concert Hall lobby will feature a continuous demonstration of the 360-degree virtual reality filmmaking that academy instructor Neil Short has taught this year.
One of the students who wonders “What could be better than this?” — a tenth-grader from Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound — asked the question a few months ago, during a film shoot in downtown Los Angeles. Proximity to the movie capital of the world is part of what makes the academy’s Film Department thrilling to young people. Another part is their instruction by film industry professionals.
But perhaps the greatest excitement for film students is in making their own films, even as ninth-graders. College film departments don’t allow students to touch a camera for the first year or two, but the 25 movies showing in Lowman Concert Hall represent the work of students from every high school year.
Graduating seniors Theo Dröse, Adrienne Ferguson, Jozsef Lelovics, Rui Yan “Rio” Liu, Nicole Taro and Weijing “Vicking” Wang are justifiably excited about their futures. Yet the ones who go on to study film in college will, in a sense, take a step backward.
The extraordinary ambition and daring of the Film Department have even made it possible for this year’s only postgrad student, Martin Gerard, to tackle a feature film. Martin’s “In You We Trust” addresses domestic abuse and the marginalization of Native Americans as it follows the efforts of a young Native woman to uncover the truth behind murders committed in her community. This is a full-length work on which Martin and his academy colleagues have more work to do, but he’ll show the trailer in Lowman Concert Hall.
The Film Department faculty and students have earned so much respect that the departmental awards have been judged by the forward-thinking film community Women Under The Influence. Awards will be announced after the second showing of films.
The event is free and open to the public.