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World Premiere of Student Film "Erasure" at Pomona College

Film to Be Screened in Conjunction with Award-Winning Short Film “For Our Man” by Pomona College Alumnus Kazuo Ohno

Nobody says movie-making is easy. Certainly not Alex Scott.

Scott, a Pomona College English major, dealt with last-minute casting problems, location cancellations, breakdowns, car accidents (real ones), forgetful cast members and exploding containers of fake blood over the summer during the shooting of “Erasure,” a short film he has written and directed.

“The experience was a rocky one – and a time of intense learning for everyone involved,” said Scott, who is now looking forward to the world premiere of “Erasure” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21, in Rose Hills Theatre, Smith Campus Center, 170 E. Sixth St., Claremont. The screening is open to the public and free of charge.

“Erasure” was shot in and around Claremont over two weekends in the summer of 2003, using a cast and crew drawn almost exclusively from the faculty and student body of Pomona College. The producers rented professional film dollies, which they used along with digital cameras from the Pomona College Media Studies Program to shoot the film. Making use of more than eight different locations, students moved between campus lands, faculty houses, and public property to complete the short.

The 13-minute film uses reverse photography in an experimental narrative technique that addresses problems of identity, memory, and morality. The film’s main character, Will, wakes from his own death to find the world around him running backwards – people walk, talk, and eat in reverse. Quickly, Will finds that the world in reverse has unexpected consequences – arguments lead to surprising reconciliation, terrible accidents bring thousands of people to life, guns have the power to turn corpses into living people. As Will struggles to make sense of it all, he finds the shards of his own life settling into place. “Un-doing” a series of choices leads him back toward a mysterious accident involving the disappearance of his brother, Paul. In bringing Paul back, Will reaches toward the tranquil moments of yesterday – only there can he find a pleasant ending.

The film’s score is an original composition of electronic music created by Pomona College seniors Eric Mann and Jason Lopez. The score makes extensive use of sampled and reversed instrumentation – from piano to bowed guitar. Much of the music was recorded in Pomona College’s state-of-the-art electronic music studio.

The filming of “Erasure” was made possible by a Stonehill grant – one of the many sources of summer research funding available to students at Pomona College. The Stonehill grants are made possible through a generous donation from the family of the late Dr. Brian Stonehill, a Media Studies professor who was a dedicated advocate of the program. In Prof. Stonehill’s honor, the grants fund research for a variety of theoretical Media Studies projects – from academic papers to documentary films. “Erasure” is the first fictional narrative project to be completed using such a grant.

“Erasure” will be screened in conjunction with the 25-minute short film “For Our Man” by Pomona alumnus Kazuo Ohno, class of ‘96. Kazuo completed “For Our Man” as a graduate student at Columbia University. The short went on to win the Student Academy Awards in 2002, and screened to enthusiastic audiences at such prestigious film festivals as Telluride and South by Southwest (where it won the prize for best narrative short).

A reception for audience, cast, and crew will follow the screening of “Erasure,” as well as an informal Q&A with the filmmakers.