It’s not everyday that the Red Vic on Haight Street will premiere a student-directed film, but that is exactly the reality for “Id,” a film directed and written by USF student Kevin Kunze, who claims he has been directing movies since he was seven. Kunze, who is a Media Studies major, has been writing “Id” since his freshman year at USF and can now finally bask in its completion in his senior year. The project began as a compilation of his dreams and random thoughts and grew into his first full-length film and senior thesis. It will premiere at the Red Vic for a free screening at 4 p.m. on Nov. 19, conveniently coinciding with his twenty-first birthday.
“Id” tells the story of four friends living out their final days underground in a fallout shelter. The world above them has turned to madness and anarchy. Out of the terrible isolation and straining thoughts of the future they begin to go crazy in their confinements.
With a cast of five, four of which are USF students, and a crew of eight, three of which are USF students, Kunze has really pulled his resources in creating his full-length film. In fact, Melinda Stone, the director of Film Studies at USF has taken on the Executive Producer position. Kevin Epps, the other Executive Producer, helped get the movie noticed at the Red Vic. Kunze also found a professional studio in Soma called Sir Studio with the help of two San Francisco artists, Justin Mussman and Austin Becker. Jimmy Buffett uses the same studio during the day. The music for “Id” is vastly different from Buffett’s; however, the movie definitely features dark, eerie sounds.
The USF students involved in the production include: Dylan Wittrock playing Adam Kadmon; Ava Madison Riley playing Lilith Kadmon; Maria Luna Garcia playing Maya Deimos; Zachary Rich playing Curtis Kunstler; and Chet Bentley, Dennis Walker and Brittany Rowles on the production team.
Kunze has high hopes for his independent film. He plans to enter the final product into several film festivals, covering local ones such as SF International and Cinequest as well as the “big ones” including Sundance, Venice and Cannes film festivals. However, Kunze admits, “That’s the tricky thing about being an independent filmmaker these days. You have to set up a website, Facebook group, and try to get the word across.”
“I won’t tell you what the message is, that’s why I made the movie,” Kunze said. For Kunze, showing human emotions through the film is his biggest goal. “If you make the emotions big, you don’t need elaborate settings or props.”
For “Id,” he believes there is a “timeless feel” to the whole story. Kunze likes to look at examples of bad movies to see what the director did wrong, and learn from those mistakes. The example he gave was “Alice in Wonderland.” Kunze commented, “I wanted to rent it to see how bad it really was. You can learn a lot by checking out bad examples.”
The process of filming “Id” took about a year. Kunze pointed out that films such as “Black Swan,” directed by Darren Aronofsky, took nine years to organize and then was filmed in forty to forty-five days. “So many things can go wrong. Every day is a compromise. I feel it’s near the final product. It’s a child. It’s never truly finished. But in the end, you have to be satisfied,” said Kunze of the process. “One time,” he said, “we were shooting in an alleyway by Loyola Village and someone called the cops on us. Thankfully the cops understood. That was a hazardous day.”
Even though his first feature film has not premiered yet, Kunze is already thinking about his future films. “Next I’m doing a comedy,” he laughed. He would love to switch methods up and escape from so much drama for a while. “I would love to do a book adaptation, and work further with Kevin Epps,” he said.
Dylan Wittrock, a sophomore at USF and the lead character, said of the experience: “Actually getting shown at the Red Vic is a surreal feeling. I haven’t seen the whole thing put together yet, so I get to be surprised at the premiere.”
Wittrock, who has performed in other student films before said, “This is the most extensive movie I have been in.”
When asked how it was working with Kunze, Wittrock said, “Kevin put it all together. He fought for this movie. He knows what he wants. Sometimes organizing stuff is difficult, but it’s fun to work with him. He would ask my opinion on a lot of stuff.”
His role in “Id” was demanding in new ways.
Wittrock said, “I had to show a lot without dialogue at some points. I had to show emotion without overacting. It’s a challenging process.” Despite the “challenges,” Wittrock said he “got really into the character.”
With all the hard work put into “Id,” there should be a line waiting to get into the Red Vic on Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. There will be a raffle and donations taken at the premiere to support the independent film.
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