After an eight-week, hands-on lab, the two short films created by the Arkansas Cinema Society’s Teen Girl Filmmaking Lab premiered to a full crowd on Thursday night.
The short films, "Ensemble" and "Justitia" were part of the 'Girls Night' program for this year’s Filmland festival in Little Rock. They preceded a screening of the film "Troop Zero," where writer Lucy Alibar and Bert, half of the directing duo Bert and Bertie, were both in attendance to answer questions about the film afterwards.
Nine of the 12 girls who participated in the lab also answered questions on their specific films, discussing what they learned, whether they want to pursue a career in film and what aspects of the filmmaking process they enjoyed the most. Another girl spoke on her experience later on in the evening.
Isabelle Rogers, who was in charge of lighting for the short "Ensemble," did not expect that part of the process to be so complicated.
"[To me at first] Lighting was just like, 'It’s there.' You see when it’s on and you don’t when it’s off. And to have boxes specifically just for lighting and to have plastics specific just to change the mood of the entire film and decimals that are [a] point centimeter of a change, but it makes such a big impact. I didn’t expect lighting to be such a big thing," Rogers said.
The girls were involved with each step of making the film, with everyone responsible for a different aspect, from directing, to costuming, to sound. Marley Boswell was the cinematographer for "Ensemble." It was the role she was most interested taking on. Since the film she worked on dealt with musical elements, that was something she kept in mind while behind the camera.
"We tried to make everything kind of fluid. We had a lot of not just all static shots," Boswell said.
Boswell says being thrown into the filmmaking process was a challenge, though ultimately worth the hard work.
"We were there for like 12 plus hours just standing and doing shot after shot. It’s a lot more tedious than I expected, not necessarily in a bad way. It’s like, when you finally got the shot that you needed, it was all worth that tedious work," Boswell said.
Samantha Barrera worked on both "Ensemble" and "Justitia," which is about a woman suing for her credit on a scientific breakthrough that a male counterpart stole. She says she was excited to work on Justitia because as an activist, she connected to the story’s message.
"It’s the truth that many women don’t get recognized for what they do and it’s just a big problem that we just need to focus on," Barrera said.
Many of the women on stage told the crowd they would pursue film further than just this program. Rogers said this lab helped her realize the number of women role models there are in film.
"To have a program like this so they can show us the people, they can inform us that 'Hey, this is something that you can enjoy doing while pursuing it...' the lab has really been amazing. It really, really has," Rogers said.
Filmland programming runs through Sunday. Information can be found at the Arkansas Cinema Society’s website.