Zoe Fassinelli, a film production student at the university, makes her film festival debut Friday, March 3, with her short film “Lizard People” screening at the Oxford Film Festival.
The short was created as an assignment for Frassinelli’s sophomore Editing I class. Every student was tasked with creating a music video for the same song “Lizard People” by Lee Bains + The Glory Fires, using already existing performance footage of the band as well as archival footage.
Though given limited resources, Frassinelli created a zany and eccentric music video with numerous absurd clips of various scaly, monstrous creatures and terrified people, all picked from different decades adding a unique textured quality to the project.
Frassinelli about her film and the overall experience of student filmmaking.
Your short started as an editing class assignment. Some argue that editing “makes a film.” Do you agree?
Frassinelli: I think somewhat, yeah. It’s all about how you put the story together in editing that makes it what it is. So I would definitely agree that it plays a very big part in what the film becomes.
Could you talk about some of your creative decisions when it came to how you ended the music video?
Frassinelli: I just chose clips that I felt represented parts of the song, like during certain parts of the lyrics. I also really wanted to focus on pacing and making sure it went along with the music well.
Are there any fundamental differences between music video editing and narrative film editing that you’ve learned about?
Frassinelli: I think that narrative editing requires a lot more focus, not to say that music video editing doesn’t require creativity or anything like that. But just from the one that I personally edited, I didn’t feel like I needed to, like, creatively go super deep into it. But narratively, I think you have to spend a lot more time thinking about how the audience is going to feel and react and what they’re going to think when they see certain stuff.
What made you decide to submit this film to the film festival?
Frassinelli: My professor, John Rash, showed all of our videos to Lee Bains and his band and they decided which ones were their favorites, and mine happened to be one of them. And he said that if you want to submit it, you can. And I was like, why not? Might as well just get it in there and show it.
Could you talk about your experience with filmmaking as a student in general?
Frassinelli: I mostly work with cameras because I want to eventually be a cinematographer or a director, so it’s definitely more camera-based. But I also like to try other things because I need to be well-rounded. Working hands-on with the student films has helped me learn a lot, sometimes even more than I’ve learned in class. Everyone’s there to learn and educate themselves by asking questions freely to understand what we all need to do in the future. I think I’ve learned a lot about how working on set really goes and that’s not something you can learn sitting in a classroom.
“Lizard People” will screen on Friday, March 3, at 11:45 a.m. at the Malco Oxford Commons Cinema in Auditorium 1 as part of the second UM Shorts block.
More information, including tickets, can be found on the Oxford Film Festival website.