Lights, camera, action: A sneak peek into Calvin’s spring film showcase


Photo from @To_Him_Film on Instagram

To Him, a love story with a twist, is set to premiere at the showcase.

For student film director Kipp De Man, making films at Calvin is a hands-on learning experience that allows students to develop skills that will help them produce films in the real world. “Making a film is about so much more than simply turning on a camera and an audio recorder, there are many, many hours of detail-wrangling and pre-production thought that takes place before the camera is even out of the case,” De Man, whose work is set to be featured in Calvin’s spring film showcase, told Chimes in an email. 

The Calvin film showcases, which occur at the end of each semester, celebrates the collaborative filmmaking efforts of students from various courses, ranging from film projects from introductory film courses to full-fledged feature films from advanced film courses. 

Set to premiere at the showcase is “Selective Service,” which was directed by De Man. “Selective Service,” according to De Man, follows a group of university students leading protests against the Vietnam War. When the group’s leader receives his draft notice, the film depicts a conflict between public dissent and private submission to government authority. 

 “Our film is set during the 1960s, a time period that is incredibly complicated but also is strangely similar to our own in terms of the topics the American public was facing,” said De Man. “However, when looking back on history, we can often have an idealized or unnuanced picture of it. ‘Selective Service’ complicates these times and makes the stakes real, and I think it will be an intriguing and insightful experience for the audience.” 

From pre-production through premiere night, the process of making films at Calvin is collaborative — a process that student director Christophorus Cedric considers to be the most rewarding aspect of directing “To Him,” which will also premiere at the showcase.

“I believe that the most rewarding experience is working with various people from various fields and backgrounds. I was able to work with some of the most talented people Calvin has to offer, like Sydney Klimek who is the Director of Photography of this film,” Cedric told Chimes in an email. “I was also able to work with talented actresses outside of town, and most importantly, I was able to collaborate with my childhood friend from Berklee College of Music who is going to compose an original score for us!”

Inspired by films such as Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and Spike Jonze’s “Her”, “To Him” follows a young woman who is confronted with her past repressed love when her housemate discovers a personal letter during a move-out day.

“This film will challenge one’s conception of love and relationships. We are not seeking to create a new definition of love, but simply to assert that there are various forms to it that should be acknowledged,” said Cedric. 

Filmmaking at Calvin has provided both De Man and Cedric with the opportunity to not only obtain filmmaking knowledge, but also to create connections that make the filmmaking process meaningful.

“It’s been so much fun hanging out with the cast and crew. I knew several of them already from other courses we’ve taken together, but this kind of challenging, dynamic process can become a strangely intimate experience, even with some of the newer faces,” said De Man. 

While directing “To Him,” Cedric saw the filmmaking process as an opportunity to learn from his team: “Not only was I able to work with other department heads, but also with production assistants. I emphasized early on our first meeting that we should be learning from each other; not only production assistants are learning from department heads, but department heads should also learn from production assistants. This, I believe, helps in fostering a professional, yet respectful, relationship when we are on set.”

According to De Man, the efforts of Calvin’s production teams are clearly visible on the big screen for viewers to enjoy. “I have really enjoyed seeing my production team’s collective vision begin to turn into a reality. Even in the early cuts of the film, you can see the unique creativity of each member of the crew and how they contributed to the depth and thoughtfulness of the final project.” 

This spring’s showcase, hosted by Calvin’s communication department, is scheduled for April 21 at 7 p.m. at the CFAC auditorium.