Monika Lang 2015 Up&Coming Juror Statment

I was very inspired by this year’s Up&Coming Film Festival submissions. I felt that this year’s selection used the lens to emphasize a sense of obscurity in a variety of forms. Obscurity was expressed as heartbreak in the Lucy’s Room, Love is about Lies and Digitize Me. It was beautifully evolved into a sense of loss and diasporic energy in my Mother’s Song Pass. Obscurity even seeped through comically through the distressed twitches of the protagonist in Inner Peace.

While judging the films I paid particular attention to the use of color (and saturation) and how the use of color contributed to the narrative. This allowed me to further analyze the creativity within the narrative including use of sound and emotion. This was a very subjective experience and perhaps an almost selfish method of judgment due to my sincere admiration for form as narrative. I found that this was excellently executed in the films My Mother’s Song Pass, Lucy’s Room, John Haffey and Sutherland Dam. In My Mother’s Song Pass the color black created a void that authenticated the story while bringing light to the key focal points. The over saturation and pattern of vibrant pink and blue tones featured a compelling didactic between the sterile milieu and Lucy’s emotional struggle in Lucy’s Room. John Haffey articulated the San Diego Surf scene with a beautiful contrast of blues and whites while allowing that little maroon Dr. Pepper to pop throughout. I was particularly keen on the elaborate color pallet used in Sutherland Dam, the color choice fostered the relationship between the actors and the landscape allowing the actors to shine.

The films demonstrated UCSD’s unique interdisciplinary curriculum across the Graduate and Undergraduate programs. The exploration of technology was evident in the construction of the cinematography. I would encourage students to continue to think out of the box when conceptualizing narratives and to go off campus and discover a variety of terrains while experimenting with the tools at hand.