“(313) Choices” is a new feature length film made by MSU students in a collaborative effort between MSU’s College of Music, Department of Theatre and College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
The film premiered at the Traverse City Film Festival on July 29, MSU alumnus Brock Lewandowski said, adding there was a Q&A after the film with the executive producers and some of the students.
“It’s a contemporary drama about choices people have to make in their daily lives living in the 313 ZIP code of Detroit,” director of MSU’s Media Sandbox David Wheeler said.
The film, which was written by MSU alumna CJ Valle, was written as a play with plans to turn it into a movie through MSU’s “Theatre 2 Film” project, Wheeler said.
The film switches between six different stories which take place in the 313 area code of Detroit, Wheeler said, and the stories all intertwine.
Wheeler said over 100 MSU students worked on the 90-minute film.
“Without a doubt, having all the people involved was the only reason this could even be made,” media and information sophomore Tyler Clifton, who was a director of the film, said.
He said with everything that had to be done on the film, everyone needed each other and had to work together as a team.
Lewandowski described those working on the film as dedicated, passionate people who wanted to be there, since they didn’t get paid or receive school credit.
MSU is one of the only universities to make a full-length film, Wheeler said, because there are a lot of challenges to working with so many different schedules, which is why the film has six directors and producers.
"(313) Choices” allowed many students to receive notable experience while making friends and building connections.
“It was such a great opportunity because not a lot of colleges produce feature length films,” MSU alumna Andrea Raby, a producer, said. “To say I’ve produced a feature length film at 22 years old is a great thing.”
Clifton agrees directing the movie is an opportunity which will open up future possibilities, especially since he was a freshman during the movie’s filming.
“It ended up being the greatest thing ever,” Clifton said. “Since freshman year of high school I knew I wanted to direct.”
Lewandowski co-produced a story in the film about two brothers, which he enjoyed because he has a close relationship with his own brother.
“Having the personal connection to the story was something that drew me into it,” Lewandowski said.
He also directed and co-produced the story which he describes as the “comic relief” of the film, and he was the film’s post production supervisor as well.
“There are several milestones you hit along the way and it’s hard to see the end product ... so to see the film come together on the screen ... was a really exciting experience,” Lewandowski said
Wheeler describes the film as realistic, mature and relevant, with a production quality to match professional films.
“It is different; it’s not like most movies you’re going to see at the cinema,” Wheeler said, adding the film is unique because few feature films are made by students.
“It’s something we can all say is ours and be proud of together,” Lewandowski said.