Behind the Scenes: COMMotion Pictures Film Screening

The UConn Department of Communication’s annual student film screening has become one of the department’s most popular events. Hundreds of students, family members, friends and alumni gather together in the Hartford Spotlight Theatre and watch student films on the big screen. Students in multimedia production courses have the opportunity to produce, film and edit their own short films. At the end of the semester, some of the best films make their way to the big screen for everyone to view. Though the red carpet and the flashing lights of the cameras certainly show the glamorous side of film, the process of creating them takes dedication and a lot of hard work.  A film team from the 2019 film screening gave some behind the scenes insight into what it takes to create a screening-worthy film.

Lil Doc was created by James Brockett, Taijek Mikel, Aaron Lorenzo, Gilbert Owens and Michael Sampson, who were all students in the COMM Advanced Digital Production course. The group created a 10 minute documentary that featured Connecticut rappers and their music. Each member of the film crew expressed an interest in rap, and they knew they wanted to incorporate it into their project. They found the stories of local rappers to be compelling because they all had unique struggles to overcome. Between the creation of music, local rivalries and the battle to be accepted in society, the film team captured interesting and heartfelt stories from each of the rappers featured. 

The students connected with the rappers and traveled to meet with them. They took trips all over the state, lugging gear in the rain and hoping to get the shots they needed to tell the story that they were looking for. Though some shoots were more successful than others, they were able to edit together a film that portrayed the troubles, successes and the personalities of Connecticut rappers. 

After all of this hard work, the Lil Doc team submitted their film to be considered at the Department of Communication’s annual film screening. Not only was their film selected, but it won the audience choice award. Both the film crew and the rappers received the recognition that they worked so hard for. The group members expressed their gratitude towards the Department of Communication for giving them an opportunity to create such a meaningful project. 

The 2020 COMMotion Pictures screening was hosted over a live YouTube stream so the audience could experience the same excitement while social distancing. You can watch a recording of this year’s screening at Professors Sara and Steve Stifano hosted the screening and named Peaches as the 2020 first place student film. Peaches is a short narrative horror film that left the entire audience with nightmares. Congratulations to all 2020 COMMotion pictures filmmakers, and thank you for another entertaining film screening.

To view the Lil Doc film, click here: