The dozen students in the group who have been working on their first nearly full-length film since September, said they have found the experience both invaluable and taxing. The Alliance, accustomed to producing film shorts, is taking an adventurous step this year in making an hour-long film. Death and the Maiden, the working title of the film, was written, directed, and produced by University students. Film writer and director Alon Kaplan, a College junior, said completing the film has been a nearly insurmountable task. "We honestly are trying to do something absolutely impossible," explained Kaplan. "I didn't start with a purpose," he continued. "I sit down and write keeping in mind what we do. Usually, we need $3 million and six months. But I do it any way." And so, with $1000 and a semester, the group has worked for several weeks this fall filming, and hope to enter the film into several contests next semester. "It's time Penn got some recognition -- films are made here, but they just sit here," said Kaplan. But he pledged that once they finish completing the film later this month, the film will get some exposure outside of the University. According to Kaplan, the film revolves around a woman who is being taken to the afterworld by Death. Instead of being sent to Heaven, she gets tricked and winds up going to Hell. "[The woman] protests so much about it that it starts an argument between Death and the administrators of Heaven," Kaplan revealed. "Death quits over a promotion." But according to cast members, script changes have been a frequent occurence for the production staff. While they have been working on the film for several months, they are still uncertain how the film will end up. "It's a working piece in that the film is constantly evolving," said actress Jennifer Fridell, a College sophomore . "As we change, so does the film." Death and the Maiden has been in production since September and has experienced some setbacks. In one, of the most troublesome times, a prominent cast member, College junior Roberta Koeppel, was seriously injured in a robbery on Locust Street. Cast and production members said that they had to fill her role and cope with the loss. "It was demoralizing," said College sophomore Keith Waxelman, an actor. "We had to come to grips with it. It slowed our pace down for a long time." Moreover, the staff found filmmaking to be an arduous process but hope to finish the filming later this month. "The hardest part when you're working with this is keeping the enthusiasm," said College senior Cheryl Family, who is producing the film. "You're working on the movie every night from September to December." The production staff has shot the film on locations across campus, and used everyday sites including Bennett Hall and the Bowl Room at Houston Hall. Family said that students will see familiar settings associated with very different moods and activities. College senior Avika Potok, who plays the role of Death, said that by creating a film that students can relate to, he hopes the audience will think about the messages. "You don't want the audience to watch it and then at the end to run away," Potok said. The group plans to screen the film sometime next semester.Comments powered by Disqus
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