Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson Independent Video hits the ground running as academic year starts

Illustration by Sasha Zirin

Emerson’s Independent Video is starting the semester with a brand new collection of productions including short films, TV shows, and more. The productions bring new tidings for student filmmakers and their creations—offering opportunities for innovative storytelling, collaboration among peers, and the unique experience of working on a film set.

The EIV season kicks off on Sept. 29th, commencing with the production of a short film titled “The Inmate.” According to sophomore VMA major and the film’s executive producer Martin Tran, “The Inmate” follows “a lonely woman who builds a life-altering connection with a prison inmate through nothing but the view of her back window.”

The film is run by four executive producers: sophomores Tran and Owen Keeley, and juniors Mimi van Dyke and Will Curtis. Though this is Tran and Keeley’s first time producing an EIV film, Curtis has had plenty of experience producing for EIV, such as a production made last semester called “I Love You, Special.”

Tran and Keeley began writing the script in September of 2022. Keeley described their pre-production process as “oddly stretched.”

The duo said they drew inspiration from personal sources, like the window in their Little Building dorm last academic year. 

“I looked out of the window with Owen and we thought about what it’d be like to build a relationship with someone over that distance between the two buildings with just that view in the window,” Tran said. Another production hiring and shooting this semester is “Heist Guys,” a crime-comedy TV series, which offers three sophomore students their first chance to produce a budgeted film.

“It’s a crime-comedy series about a film student who gets his dream project rejected and then tries to form a heist crew to fund his project and also get back [at] people who wronged him,” VMA major and executive producer for “Heist Guys” Christopher Fase said.

This being Fase’s introduction to producing for EIV, he thought it’d “be a beginner [trial] into producing where they hold your hand through a lot of it,” though it ultimately didn’t feel like the case.

Fase and one of his co-producers, VMA major Josh Feldman, said it felt virtually the opposite—Feldman described the process as “self-reliant.”

From crime to comedy, EIV is offering a dynamic range of productions. Another TV show out of EIV that is beginning production this fall is “Hell Inc.,” a comedy miniseries.

“[It’s] about two demons who are very bad at their job, which is bringing people down to hell from Earth after they’ve died and done bad things,” said junior VMA arts major and “Hell Inc.” executive producer Ty Farro. “Except, they’re really bad at it and often send people to heaven instead.”

Farro and junior VMA major and co-executive producer Riley Roper started writing the miniseries last academic year, when it was “originally supposed to be a comic,” according to Farro. 

They ultimately decided to pitch it to EIV with their third executive producer, junior VMA major Becca Melkonian, and will begin filming on Nov. 10th. The miniseries has a specific origin story: it was inspired by a dream Roper had as a child.

“All I remember about it is like this little flash of like two weird looking demons at an amusement park,” Roper said.

One EIV production pulls from other forms of visual art—amplifying a variety of artistic perspectives. It’s a critical parody yet imitation of the true crime genre: “Herbert’s Sunshine Hour.” According to co-executive producer Caroline Whitaker, the film is “about a not-real crime and the cancellation of a children’s TV show, a puppet show similar to Sesame Street.”

“Once the show gets canceled by the network, the puppet wants to continue his career,” they said. “But he doesn’t have one since the show is canceled and so he decides to [get revenge on] the host.”

The mockumentary aims to thematically incorporate topics like homophobia, worker’s rights, and the problematic nature of the true crime genre, which Whitaker described as “exploitative.”

The executive producer team also plans to incorporate graphics into their film. Junior creative writing major and executive producer Izzy Astuto said their goal is to submit their production to local film festivals in order to support their local film community. 

EIV is once again providing a platform for students to unleash their creativity and gain valuable hands-on experience in the world of filmmaking. With more than a dozen productions poised to enter the hiring and filming phase, the flow of media and art at Emerson College remains vibrant and uninterrupted.

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About the Contributor
Sasha Zirin
Sasha Zirin, Assistant Living Arts Editor
Sasha Zirin is a journalism major and Assistant Living Arts Editor with a passion for art criticism. They love to cover film and take photos. They started on the Beacon as a correspondent in fall 2022 and have been around since. They’ve been on the editorial team for EM Magazine since fall 2022 as well. Outside of writing and taking photos, you’ll often find them drawing/painting, listening to music, and watching a lot of movies.

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