The filmmaker’s club at Mines is gearing up to release their first full-length film. This project began for a group of students a few years ago who came together to create a space where they could share their love of the process of filmmaking. The club grew from taking on smaller projects as it and its members slowly developed the resources and the drive to produce a full- length movie. When it came time to decide on what film would set the tone for the club, almost immediately, one idea that had been drafted while the club was still in its infancy rose to the top. They immediately began to move forward with a plan to address a growing modern issue: mental health.
Now eight months later, Sepia has transferred off the page and into the real world. Sepia follows a group of three college students who meet almost by chance, each with different histories of mental illness. The common thread between these three students is that they all find themselves struggling with their mental health over the course of the movie. As part of their plan to address their struggles, all three students become involved with the “Hiking Outside to Clear Your Head” club. As one of the student’s struggles begin to weigh on him more and more, all three students learn more about themselves and how their past experiences affect their current relationship with mental health.
As production continued, the club found some amazing ways to make some issues that they encountered opportunities to create situations that more closely mirrored real life struggles. As a result of conflicting schedules for the majority of the actors who worked on the movie, the production team decided that it was important to shoot as much of a scene as they could at a time. This naturally led to many of the scenes of the movie becoming long takes. Long takes, a filmmaking term for a longer scene with no cuts, are often used for the organic feeling that they bring to a movie and, in this case, fits perfectly into the narrative. In narratives like Sepia, the emotions of the characters and the relationships between them make the story compelling. Both of these aspects seem more real as the actors have to start to think about how their character would respond to the events happening around them for ten-minute scenes at a time. Additionally, many well-known songs were originally referenced in creating the mood for certain scenes, but without being able to use those specific well know songs, local talent stepped in with pieces that had similar composition and tone. Besides all of these pieces being great in their own rights, their allusion to other songs and unique elements make them relatable but not so specific to be alienating to anyone. So students who like Sepia’s characters, found comfort from their daily life in especially poignant slow and meaningful song.
It’s easy to see that the students and the local talent that worked together were dedicated to giving a performance that treats the issue with the respect it deserves. The movie makes it clear that everyone involved understands that there is no one specific way to address mental health. For the film to be a success, Sepia should build relationships between members of the Mines’ community and the mental health organizations that the filmmakers worked with during production. To the producers, it is important that Sepia makes an intense impact on those who see it.
Whether you are a fan of moviemaking and want to see how the predominantly analytical right-brains of mines went about making a film, are interested in how the Filmmakers at Mines made problems into possibilities, or are a concerned member of the community who wants to be part of the on-campus discussion of mental health, be sure to stay tuned to the Filmmakers at Mines social media. More information, including the trailer, is available online by visiting their club website www.filmmakersatmines.com, or alternatively follow them on Instagram filmmakersatmines or Facebook at “Filmmakers At Mines”. More updates will be posted about the official release of Sepia as it approaches.