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21 filmmakers. 17 thesis films. The FSU Film School's MFA Class of 2014 needs your support to bring our stories to life.

21 filmmakers. 17 thesis films. The FSU Film School's MFA Class of 2014 needs your support to bring our stories to life. Read More
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About this project

Each year, MFA students at the Florida State Film School produce a number of thesis films.  These films are the culmination of the program, and the students spend the majority of their 2nd and final year working on them.

The FSU Film school prides itself on instilling the collaborative spirit of filmmaking in all of it's students, and this year's class is no different.  Currently, all 21 students are working hard in pre-production on each other's films in different capacities, such as Production Design, Producing, and Cinematography. Students are given the opportunity to specialize in different areas, and this year 3 students are specializing in cinematography, 1 student in producing, and 17 students are directing, which means there will be 17 thesis films, and lots of work to do.

As we move forward, we will continue to develop our scripts, begin casting actors, and start finding locations. We will also be doing cinematography and directing workshops for each film. In the spring semester we will begin shooting, and by the end of the summer semester we will have edited, colored, and sound-mixed all of the films. We will screen the finished films at the beginning of August before sending them out to festivals.

Each and every one of our students will put in countless hours and hard work on these projects. One of the things that makes our class special is the generosity and support we all show each other--we all want each other's films to be successful, and it shows through in our work. 

Through Kickstarter, we hope to raise funds to help make all of our films a reality. The money will be spread evenly between each film, going toward things like production design materials, meals, flying in actors, and a myriad of other expenses. By supporting our films, you will be helping 21 students bring their dreams to life. Even if you cannot donate, promoting our project to others is a great way to help. We thank you for taking the time to review our project and hope you enjoy the video. Look for weekly updates on individual projects as we continue our pre-production.

Here is a closer look at each of the filmmakers and their projects:

Mithra B. Alavi, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Fathers and Daughters" A loving but stubborn Iranian father is celebrating his thirtieth wedding anniversary. During this celebration, his oldest daughter’s American boyfriend asks permission his to marry her. Through a crazy cultural clash, the film follows a father’s journey of letting go of what he thought his family should be and appreciating what a wonderful one it actually is.

Joel Black, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "A Blind Man" Albert Johnson, an aging blind widower, is forced to take in and care for a service dog he doesn’t want as he struggles to cope with the passing of his wife.

Noah Camenker, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Helyn Springs" In a small town the local springs are rumored to be magical. A young boy believes they are the only thing that can save his dying grandfather. But magic doesn't always work the way we expect.

Che Espirtu, Directing Specialist

Thesis: "Milagro" Years after a chemical warfare wiped the earth of adults, a young boy struggles to bring his dying adolescent sister to "The Healer."

Elizabeth Fletcher, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Ready for Blastoff" A group of aliens posing as an Amish settlement are infiltrated by an undercover journalist looking to uncover their secrets.

John Francis, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Apalachicola" A female veteran returns from war in Afghanistan to find her family and the oyster industry that has long been their livelihood spiraling out of control. Dependent on the bay, they must grapple with the possibility that their old way of life is no more, and they will have to adapt if they want to thrive.

Dana Fytelson, Cinematography Specialist 

Director of Photography for: "Milagro", "Break Free", "Crossing the Line"," "In Four Parts"

Katie Harbin, Directing Specialist

Thesis: "Dante" In this dark comedy, a recovering pyromaniac struggles against his urge to burn. But when he takes a job working for the world’s worst boss, Dante starts to question his reasons for quitting in the first place.

Luxi Jin, Cinematography Specialist 

Director of Photography for: "Helyn Springs", "Dante", "The Lifestyle" and "Hop-Skotch the Funk Dumpling"

Jordan Mathew Lewis, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "My Girl Rose" When Rose Douglas and Michael Clark, an interracial couple, decide to attend a segregated prom ceremony in the 1960s, they send shock waves through their conservative, southern community.

Kyara Lombre, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Break Free" Lindsay tries desperately to help her mother cope with the loss of her younger sister, Grace, but this only causes a wedge in their relationship. As a result, their mother Jackie has Lindsay to dress up as the deceased daughter, forcing Lindsay to decide whether to leave or to stay and endure her mother's perversions.

Kendall McCrory, Directing Specialist

Thesis: "Crossing the Line" Chrissa works "the line" for her boyfriend/pimp, Sven, and takes care of her little sister, Rachel. When Sven's attention turns to Rachel, Chrissa's vain jealousy blinds her to Rachel's inevitable future.

Rebekah Rae Peck, Directing Specialist

Thesis: "The Lifestyle" Unwilling to take a pregnancy test for fear of missing out on the L.A. lifestyle, party girl Lexi starts to embrace the celebrity of being pregnant when a new reality show titled "L.A. M.I.L.F.s" shows interest in casting her.

Nia Imani, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Only For Forever" A street girl steals a woman's purse, but finds herself coming back to the scene in hopes to gain a bit more than just money. The two learn that the beauty of love is not in its duration, but in its strength and passion even if only for a few days.

Becky Radford, Directing Specialist

Thesis: "Gnome and Garden" Norm Greene is a garden gnome who has found his niche as a TV personality on the show "Gnome and Garden." When one of his garden makeovers for a client turns surprisingly perilous, Norm struggles to escape and get revenge on the duplicitous housewife.

Kim Risi, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Shrink" Kevin Collins is a successful and sought after couple's therapist. Always the man with the answers, his new book, "The Perfect Marriage," is flying off the shelves. But beneath Kevin's posturing, he hides a secret--his wife has recently left him

Khadif Sanders, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "Hop-Skotch the Funk Dumpling" After moving to a suburb with his mom the first person Santi meets is a former dance legend turned drug addict. Lacking the confidence to dance in public, Santi requests dance lessons from the junkie and he agrees to train him. Santi's mom soon finds out about this and tries to end their relationship.

Jessica Swalchick, Producing Specialist 

Producer for: "Ready for Blastoff", "Crossing the Line" and "In Four Parts"

Robert Thomason, Cinematography Specialist 

Director of Photography for: "A Blind Man", "Fathers and Daughters", "ESL", "Shrink"

Benjamin Treichel, Directing Specialist 

Thesis: "ESL" After Kevin’s tyrannical ex Angie bails on joining him in Poland before his first day of teaching English, his world implodes. With the help of his coworkers, Kevin slowly finds his confidence. But just when things are going well, he is faced with the ultimate test: Angie.

Stephanie Williams, Directing Specialist

Thesis: "In Four Parts" Dylan Thomas has always lived life without rules. Her head-first rush through adolescence has culminated in a wide array of different relationships: lesbian, straight, bi, queer - it's all the same to her. Always the heartbreaker, Dylan has never yet experienced the pangs of love lost, until now

Risks and challenges

The Florida State Film School has been making films for over 20 years and has an excellent track record of completing projects once they are begun.

As we go into production, we will encounter the usual problems that arise on film sets, such as inclement weather, risk of injury, finding the right actors and locations, etc. If these situations do occur, we have been trained in how to respond, always holding safety in the highest regard. If, after principal photography, we see that we need to reshoot a scene, we have the opportunity to do pick-up shoots in the summer. We have an excellent and experienced support system at Florida State, and we fully expect to complete these 17 films and screen them in August.

Once the films are completed, we will be faced with the challenge of entering them into film festivals across the world. We have already taken a class on festivals, and will get continued support from Florida State as we develop our film festival strategies. In the past, Florida State has been very successful entering festivals, many winning awards. We hope to continue the success that the Florida State Film School has had, and thank you for your support!

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    Our gratitude and appreciation!

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    Special thanks in the next update video!

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    Special thanks in the next update video AND a digital copy of a signed class photo!

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    All of the above PLUS special thanks in every thesis film AND password secure access a digital behind-the-scenes documentary!

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    All of the above PLUS a DVD compilation of the finished films AND a 11X17 print of a movie poster of your choice and an 8x10 signed class photo!

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    All of the above PLUS your full-sized poster will be framed and you will get a guided tour of the Film School!

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    All of the above PLUS an invitation to the end of year Gala where you'll meet industry professionals AND be witness to the World Premiers of all of our thesis films!

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Funding period

- (47 days)