By Corrie Walker
At the beginning of the semester, Asst. Professor Chris Clark assigned his Introduction to Film class a hefty assignment. The project: to create a film portraying one of Jesus’ Beatitudes. With knowledge that the films would be screened in chapel, the eight filmmakers embarked on a semester long journey to create an entertaining piece worthy to show to their peers.
The film had to be between four and six minutes, it had to include a chase scene, had to involve a rose, and most importantly, and the most challenging aspect, it had to be a silent film.
“Great directors have to visually tell stories,” Clark said.
Requiring his students to create a piece with no words forced them to explore different avenues to stimulate the audience’s involvement.
“The most challenging part was creating a story with intense emotion that was relatable, yet with deep characters without saying a single word…letting the visuals tell the main story while letting the audio reinforce the point being conveyed,” said Mark Tromanhauser, director of the Peacemaker Beatitude silent film.
“When you limit students, you’re pushing them to be more creative,” said Clark. “If the director is good, he will be able to tell that story without sound. The visual is the most important.”
Creativity is an integral part of filmmaking. Lighting, sound and even the characters each play an enormous role in the construction of a film. Mastering these elements is a lofty task, so forcing the students to tell a story with only music and visuals challenges their abilities.
“It’s amazing when Jesus’ words are put to a narrative,” said Clark.
Requiring the filmmakers to create a silent film about a specific Beatitude allowed them to explore filmmaking in a biblical context.
The films were shown during chapel on Nov. 30, followed by a brief question-and-answer session with the filmmakers.