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WSU premieres narrative film class

WSU students Caleb Henney, William Womack Jr. and Crystal Dawn Snow participate in the Comm 2751, Narrative Digital Filmmaking course on Feb. 22. Weber State University expands the communication department with film. (Source: Andrés Orozco)

Weber State University’s new digital narrative film class, led by assistant professor of digital media Andrés Orozco, sent out a call for actors to participate in student-produced films.

Nine student film directors are working to write and direct 10-minute films for Orozco’s spring semester class. This is the first year teaching the class, and Orozco has high hopes that a “crop of filmmakers that will be produced.”

Orozco believes students will have a great experience, but they will have to work hard for it. The students will be working over spring break, shooting their films and assisting other directors with the technical elements of their pieces. This team of nine students will be directing, writing and editing nine films altogether.

Valerie Sterrett, one of the students in the class, held auditions Feb. 17 and 18 with another round on Feb. 25, and many have expressed interest.

Both Sterrett and Orozco have taken the liberty of getting the actors in the theatre department involved with their projects. So far, the responses have been scarce.

WSU theater student Matt Taylor said, “I just wish it was planned out better because I would be very interested, but the workload of my semester is really full.”

Katelynn Bills, also a WSU theatre student, agreed “I want to — it would be a great experience — but I need my spring break this year,” Bills said. “I already have auditions for another show as it is.”

Orozco has a experience in the film industry in various posts, all of which can be viewed on his IMDb page. Orozco moved from Oxnard College in Oxnard, California, where he taught for 10 years prior to teaching at WSU. “I want to bring that class of filmmaking to Utah,” said Orozco. “The goal is to make sure you always produce professional work.”

Andrés Orozco, center, instructs the Comm 2751, Narrative Digital Filmmaking course at Weber State University. (Source: Andrés Orozco)

Ultimately, Orozco hopes to have students submit their work to film festivals. “We’re a few semesters from getting people to that level,” he said.

Orozco spoke about his past students who had attended the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, California State University and several other schools that are well-known for their film curricula.

Although WSU’s digital media program is in its infancy, Orozco has high expectations for its future.

“Right now we’re called digital media, but in the future, we’d like to be called digital media and film,” Orozco said of the expansion of the department. Orozco is hoping this first “crop” of students will shape the program for the years to come.

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