College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Student Cinematographers Debut Film Work in UM Theatre’s Inaugural ‘An Evening of Cinema’

Jordan Berger has not bathed in days because he hasn’t left the editing lab of Isom Hall.

“The Ninth Floor” is set to premiere in a little over 24 hours, and he is still meticulously editing scenes and recording the soundtrack.

However, his Tommy Bahama “Art of Relaxation” T-shirt matches his chipper attitude that he still has time to get the film done.

Berger and his partner in crime, Houston Settle, have been working on this film since January, and all of the work paid off with the creation of a solid work of art.

After winning the UM cinema competition last semester, the dynamic duo has been working on this film, along with many of the others being shown as part of a series in Meek Auditorium.

Settle can be seen in three of the five films, a different character in each.

His range spans from a man with a pill-popping problem dreaming of an unknown Jewish girl in the 1940s to a new employee with a bit of a comic side.

While Berger is unseen in the films save for his name, his direction and desires are a force that cannot be ignored.

“The Ninth Floor” is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen, both from a visual standpoint, with amazing cinematography, and a plot standpoint, with a strong story that keeps you intrigued until the very end.

The album “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel was the inspiration for “The Ninth Floor,” which is about a man having dreams about an imaginary Jewish lover in Nazi Germany.

While Berger said he wishes he could use the original music, he’s working around it by recreating the feel and the emotion, matching it with the images presented.

“I really, really wish we could because I’d be done by now,” Berger said.

The cast members said they felt as though they were working with seasoned filmmakers.

“Even though it was their first time, too, they helped us through it and they were very professional about it as if they’d done it before,” said Savannah Sirkel, sophomore theater major and actress in “The Ninth Floor.”

However, don’t think “The Ninth Floor” is the only film being screened in Meek Auditorium this weekend. For the price of admission, you get five films, each with its own unique draws and treasures.

After spending more than 300 hours planning, writing, filming and editing, “Pickett” director Alla Jeanae Frank and writer Lauryn DuValle still managed to straggle out of the editing lab just hours before sunrise.

“Pickett” is a comedy about a spoiled girl from a small town who wants badly to make it in Hollywood.

Filmed in both Louisiana and Mississippi, the film has a realistic feel of a how the relationships between a group of friends in the South work from the inside out.

Mia McElroy is both entertaining and heartwarming as she struggles to ride the coattails of the only other woman to ever make it out of their small town.

An honest feel with a humorous side, this film will make you laugh and remember your dreams.

The two short films are equally funny, sandwiched around “Silent Radio,” an award-winning film by Alan Arrivee, assistant professor of cinema.

The films provide a good mixture of comedy and drama (and even an old-school silent film) that was produced completely by students.

The night of showings is a strong representation of the undiscovered talent at Ole Miss and the promise for the cinema minor slated to appear in the Liberal Arts course catalog in the fall.

“An Evening of Cinema,” the showings of student films, began screening on Thursday evening.

The remaining showtimes are on Friday and Saturday evenings, April 8 and 9, at 7 p.m.