Spotlighting WWU Graduates and Their Creative Endeavors
By Noah Dauncey
Some might be interested to know Walla Walla University has its own film program. Of course, it is nowhere near the likes of the American Film Institute or the University of Southern California, where many of the biggest filmmakers today once attended. It was not until 2019 that our school introduced a dedicated film degree, a Bachelor of Science in Film, Television, and Media (before that, the makeshift film degree was a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Film and Television, which is quite a mouthful). As the list of film major alumni from WWU continues to grow, some have gone on to make some very interesting projects.
Recently, the New York Times did an article on Jason Satterlund, a WWU alumnus who graduated in 1992. You may know of his past work on “The Record Keeper” (2014), an 11-part limited series about an angel tasked with taking a record of all the events in human history, dealing with “The Great Controversy” in the process. However, the reason the New York Times did an article on Satterlund was because of his high production value “Star Wars” fan film titled “KENOBI” (2019).
Premiering in late 2019, this 19-minute short film looks at Ben Kenobi as he tries to keep a young Luke Skywalker from the detection of the evil Empire. It was filmed on location in a desert environment, chosen because of its resemblance to the sandy wasteland planet Tatooine. In short, Ben Kenobi (also known as Obi-Wan) goes through inner turmoil in his attempt to protect Luke, and he must take action when Luke’s safety is threatened. The short film features many nods to the source material, including stormtroopers, lightsabers, and even the famous Obi-Wan “hello there” fans have come to love from the original film. You can find the film on YouTube by searching “KENOBI – A Star Wars Fan Film.”
Speaking of short films, did you know ASWWU video has made award-winning short films as well? If not, here are a couple you may be interested in. First, I recommend going to the ASWWU video Vimeo page and searching for “The Exquisite Outdoors,” a 10-minute spectacle inspired by the work of Wes Anderson. Co-directed by Grant Perdew and Jacob Patterson, WWU alumni, the film follows two friends as they go on a journey to explore the wonders of the world around us.
The short is jam-packed with aesthetically pleasing scenes, wacky characters, and the color yellow. The film took home the Best Dramatic Short, Best Cinematography, and Best in the Festival awards at the 2016 Sonscreen Film Festival, a festival frequently attended and entered by WWU students.
Another project to check out is “Car Treble,” a short film directed by WWU film graduate Clayton Kruse. Clayton Kruse was the first student ever to receive the new film degree from WWU, as he was graduating the year it was introduced. “Car Treble” is a 20-minute film centered around two things: music and cars.
The film follows Juice, the leader of a bunch of racers who need to defend their title at the big race. Things get interesting when Juice meets a girl who broke down passing through town and must decide which he is more focused on, the race or the lady.
You can expect those 20 minutes to be filmed with colorful cinematography, incredible views of Walla Walla, and an original soundtrack recorded by students of WWU. The film received the Jury Selection award and Best Drama Short runner up at the 2019 Sonscreen Film Festival. It can be found on the AFTER95 Creative YouTube channel titled “‘Car Treble’ – A Musical.”