Bucks Library Exhibits Student Talent

Hal Conte

It’s a confrontation: a heroic informant pitted against a shady criminal operation in a final battle, firearms pointed, with shots exploding out of barrels amidst the decrepit background of a shadowy warehouse.
Where does this drama take place? Is from the latest hit Netflix show? If you guessed yes, you’d be wrong: this is a fight scene from “The Sting,” a five-minute video that is part of a series of student films that have been playing in Bucks’ Newtown campus library building since the beginning of the spring semester.
“We have a film festival every year, and this year, we put on the final productions from the fall semester class. Now you can see those films on the TV in the entrance area.” explained Stanley Timek, professor of arts and multimedia at Bucks.
Timek, who has taught at Bucks for 12 years as an adjunct instructor, described the format behind the movies. “The parameters are simple: five minutes or less, and they have to tell a story.” Students are asked to come up with two ideas and then choose one to shoot.
Asked what element was most essential in making a good movie, Timek answered, “The story is king. If they have a good story, they can do anything.”
The plots of the various short films vary widely. “There have been everything from action films to personal interest stories,” Timek said. “It’s just like [going to] the movies.”
Due to their prominent location in the entrance of the library, the films have garnered the attention of many students. Michael Finazzo, who plays a character in “Zombie Western” and is studying video production at Bucks, explains that “I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and ask, “is that my film?”
In the plot of “Zombie Western,” two filmmakers argue about whether to make a zombie movie or a cowboy movie, but eventually decide to make a “post-apocalyptic zombie western.”
Michael explains that “Zombie Western” is based on the concept that “two people would be talking about making a film even as it happens.” He was asked by his friends who are taking the class if he could be part of the film, as the students directing the films are forbidden from acting in them, according to Everett Mitchell, one of the directors of “The Sting.”
Asked what gave him the idea to produce “The Sting,” Everett replied that he wanted to try an action scene to test his skills. “Basic premise: it’s the climax of a longer movie.”
“The Sting” was shot in an HVAC warehouse as well as in Tyler State Park, a common filming location for students. “We had to be careful, because we had fake pistols,” Everett said.
Special effects in “The Sting” were largely added using after-affects, although Everett says that he wished that he could have used more practical affects. Although the editing took most of his group’s time, they were able to shoot the film in sequence in just about two days.
While this short production time may lead one to believe that moviemaking is simple, Timek warns that creating a good picture is far harder than it looks. “Many students enjoy it, but you come into the class having watched hundreds of movies. By the time they start their first project, they realize that there are a lot of jobs that have to be filled.”
Nonetheless, he argues the rewards of producing a quality film are worth the time and effort. “To be able to sit in an auditorium and see your work on the big screen-it’s great.”
Everett seems to agree. Although he describes himself as “very nerve-racked” during the film’s initial screening, he has been quite pleased with the reactions of his fellow students. “People I have asked say they like it a lot.”