313 Choices

MSU student composers score student film premiered at TC Film Festival.

Contributors of the student-produced film take time out during the premiere to talk about their collaborative work.
MSU affiliated students, faculty, staff, and leadership take a moment to pose outside of Traverse City’s Bijou Theatre.
Lou Ann K. Simon, MSU President, takes a moment to addresses attendees of the “313 Choices” premiere.
The Bijou by the Bay Theater is located in the renovated Con Foster building in Clinch Park, in Traverse City. It operates as a nonprofit movie house by the TCFF, Traverse City Film Festival.

Michigan State University commanded a strong presence at this year’s Traverse City Film Festival held July 28 – Aug. 2 in Traverse City, Mich.

The festival premiered the first MSU student-produced feature film, “(313) Choices,” a large-scale, collaborative project between MSU’s Media Sandbox in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Department of Theatre, and the College of Music. Created entirely by students, the full-length feature film started as an original student play adapted for the screen with the talents of the student cast and crew.

Doctoral Candidate Samuel Joshua was among the six student composers from the College of Music who wrote, recorded, edited, and provided the score for the film. More than 100 MSU undergraduates participated in this extracurricular “Theatre 2 Film” project, serving as the actors, directors, cinematographers, composers, writers, editors, producers, and art directors.

“The Theatre 2 Film project was a testament to the collaborative culture here at MSU,” said Joshua who is teaching the College's first-ever course on composing for motion pictures this fall. “These types of projects are absolutely essential in helping students realize the importance and value of being a part of something bigger than oneself.”

A contemporary human drama, “(313) Choices” consists of several interlaced stories about young adults faced with life-altering decisions set in and around Detroit. The 90-minute film premiered to a nearly packed 300-seat auditorium, as well to donors, alumni, and founders of the Traverse City Film festival, in a private screening.

“Most everyone was extremely enthusiastic and was struck by the artistic quality and complexity of the film,” said MSU Associate Professor of Composition Mark Sullivan who was at the premiere. “They recognized that the film was a first-rate professional product.”

Sullivan also attended a panel presentation where students had the opportunity to answer questions and share what they had learned through the collaborative project.

“One after another kept talking about how exhilarating it was to meet students from other MSU colleges, and what it was like to work through the ups and downs of production,” Sullivan said. “It was all about working in groups, negotiating, compromising… all those things that come up in any aspect of professional life.”

View the student-produced trailer

Four other MSU student-produced documentaries were screened at the TCFF, as well as a  game design and development showcase through the MSU Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab. Plans are in the works for a second “Theatre2Film” project in the upcoming academic year.  

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