The Lewis Center for the Arts will present a Senior Thesis Film Festival featuring three new short films by students in the Program in Visual Arts: Straight for Satan by Nick Ellis, The Pretty People by Dayna Li, and Unchained: A Life Beyond the Stage by Brady Valashinas. All three films will be screened on Wednesday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street and again outdoors on Thursday, May 1 at 8:00 p.m. on Frist South Lawn behind the Frist Campus Center (rain location Frist Campus Center Room 302). Both events are free and open to the public.
The student films to be premiered are:
“Straight for Satan”
by Nick Ellis
Ellis’ Straight for Satan is a short, over-the-top, campy comedy about a closeted gay athlete at a Catholic school who prays to Satan to make him straight. The film is also part of Ellis’ senior thesis project for his degree in religious studies.
“The Pretty People”
by Dayna Li
The Pretty People by Li is about the president of a secret collegiate literary society who takes advantage of his girlfriend’s desire to get in by asking her to sell drugs for him. The film explores the concept of psychological deterioration under pressure, exploitation of others, and the boundaries of genuine relationships. Li is majoring in comparative politics.
“Unchained: A Life Beyond the Stage”
by Brady Valashinas
The documentary Unchained: A Life Beyond the Stage by Valashinas, an anthropology major, provides an in-depth and humanizing look into the life of a Cirque aerialist who performs on chains in Las Vegas including his training and his experiences in the profession. Valashinas followed the performer for a month capturing revealing details about this circus performer’s life.
The three filmmakers are pursuing certificates in the Program in Visual Arts with a focus on film in addition to their major areas of study. All three have been actively making films and videos during their time at Princeton and this past summer participated in a Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Global Seminar course, “Documentary Filmmaking in Kenya: The Art of Science Storytelling,” cosponsored by the Lewis Center’s Princeton Atelier program. Ellis, Li and Valashinas were among 15 students who worked with scientists and professional filmmakers, including Princeton professor and filmmaker Su Friedrich, over six weeks to create documentaries produced on location about wildlife conservation in Africa.
The three films were also shown at a private screening for Princeton students and their guests on April 25 at the Garden Theater in downtown Princeton. This screening was cosponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.