The fourth annual Made in East Tennessee film festival allows ETSU students to have an opportunity to create a documentary or original film as part of their class curriculum in the Radio Television and Film program.
The festival will be held March 3, at Real to Reel Cinemas, 130 W. Springbrook Drive, Johnson City. The event begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $3.
For senior RTVF student, Jazmine Brown, the event helps promote her film “Down the Rabbit Hole,” which involves an elevator operator who drinks from a mysterious bottle and it takes her on a journey.
“The idea came from a project we, Katie Jones and I, had to do in our Narrative Film class,” Brown said. “The assignment was to take the script called ‘Benny’s Bunny’ by Chad Barret and turn it into our own version of it.”
Throughout ‘Benny’s Bunny’, an elevator operator has a hard time figuring out why the elevator isn’t working only to find out the source of the problem: a rabbit.
“Part of the assignment was to turn the script into our own version that had to include an elevator and a rabbit, being the cause of the problem, no matter if it was a real rabbit or a symbol of one,” Brown said. “Not only did we have to use the script, each group was assigned a director, whose style of filming we had to mirror in our film.”
Brown and Jones were influenced by the style of a 1940s filmmaker, Maya Deren, to incorporate into their own production.
“Her films were very dramatic, had a lot of symbolism and were almost poetic,” Brown said. “She was definitely a surrealist.”
After conducting research, they found Deren was inspired by several elements in “Alice in Wonderland” for one of her films called “At Land.”
“Down the Rabbit Hole” features a character, who journeys through her hallucinations only to have “The Figure,” which represents consciousness and reality, bring her back.
“It was fun working on this film, writing the script and becoming lost in the creative process without having to worry about how reality would fit into your film,” Brown said. “With Maya Deren’s style reality is not a factor.”
Brown said she would like the audience to use their own imagination to unravel the film.
“When it comes to film that has a surreal vibe to it, people can have different interpretations of it,” Brown said. “So I’m hoping it will encourage people to see things in a different way, to think outside of the box in order for them to understand what the film is about.”
With the Made in East Tennessee festival only a few days away, students are excited to premiere their projects to an audience.
“It feels great knowing I will have something shown on the big screen,” Brown said. “It may only be shown once at a local theater but it feels like this is the first step to having my work national or maybe even global.”
Currently, Brown is working to create a documentary about a local group called “The Living Trees.”
“They are a really diverse group of people who seem very genuine at what they do,” Brown said. “I am excited to work on this project and I believe great things will come from this documentary.”