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Director's Statement
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Director's Statement
Douglas Underdahl

The lights go down, the movie projector snaps on, then makes that old familiar whirr, but this time, things are different: it isn't some ancient science film or a story about civic responsibility, it's your class project, unspooling if front of everyone. You made a comedy about how awful your roommate is, or a drama about a mom watching her kid get on the school bus for the first time, or something else, but now it's up there, bigger than life, on the screen for everyone to see. That's the crucial moment that is played out in FILM SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL.

I've been a student at several film schools, and taught production at several more, and it never fails to amaze me how volatile this situation can be. Students strip themselves bare, or hide behind style and flash, try to be provocative, ape something they've seen before, or simply attempt to complete the assignment and not feel foolish. They get laughs where they wanted tears, or snorts of derision at the moments they think are the most touching and real.

Whatever the outcome, every student believes that what they have flashed up there on the screen is valid. It is good, dammit! It becomes nothing less than a turning point in their lives. Success or failure, self discovery or self deception, nothing is ever the same after this trial by fire.

I attempted to make FILM SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL as true and real as possible; I even used several actual student films from my past as well as those produced specifically for the film (guess which are which!). The young, talented actors portraying the students spent the shoot in dormitories on the campus that was used for the film and are themselves recent graduates of drama schools, bringing a parallel set of experiences to bear on the project. All of this is set against the backdrop of real college life: sex, love, temptation, drugs, aspiriations, hopes, fears, dreams: FILM SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL.


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