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“Id:” A Feature Length Film by USF Students

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.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Scene: Tamar Kuyumjian

Student Rewards Program Encourages Participation

Businesses create loyalty programs to retain customers, and USF is no exception to this rule. For the last three years, the university has used the Student Rewards Program to increase student turnout at events. It is an incentive-based program for students to attend events in exchange for points and prizes.

The Athletics Department originally created the program exclusively for sports games, however, the program has been recently undertaken by Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) this year, broadening the types of events that students can earn prizes for.

Kyle Janzen, director of Ticketing and Promotions said, “We reached out to Student Leadership Engagement and proposed the idea of taking this from an athletic-based program, to a university-based program and everyone loved it and got on board.”

Since, the program has received additional funding to purchase student ID swiping machines and prizes. “If you’re going to open it up to more events, you’re going to need more prizes to support those events,” Janzen said.

The program works by creating a record of each time a student attends an event, such as sports games, concerts and shows. Student ID cards are swiped into a machine, which then allows for students to accumulate points. The more points students have, the more chances to earn better prizes.

Currently, SLE provides all of the support for non-athletic events, which includes staffing and execution for the program. At the beginning of the year, SLE, The Athletics Department and Kyle Janzen collectively mapped out the all events and the amount of points each event was worth.

Once students begin to attend events, weekly emails are sent to them, outlining the schedules of upcoming events, the point’s values for each event and where students can claim their prizes.

The point-value of events are weighted according to popularity. The more “popular” an event is (such as a sports game), the fewer points it is worth. Respectively the less popular, the more points it is worth.

Janzen said this set up of point value was designed specifically to encourage participation. “For example, this year women’s basketball games are worth 300 points, and men’s basketball games are worth only 100 points.” According to Janzen, more students attend men’s basketball games than they do for women’s. The Student Rewards Program aims to bring students to sporting events that are lacking attendance.

The Student Rewards Program has grown since it started. During the first year, the program had about 1500 students, and now the program serves over 2000 students.
In the second year, an information board was placed at every event next to the card swipes. The information board is an info center for students to see a breakdown of points, upcoming events, and a listing of top 20 point totals.

Janzen said, “The board helped increase communication to the students, and answer the prominent questions of who many points have been accumulated.”

Hillary Kigar, a junior business hospitality student, is an active participant of the Student Rewards Program and has used it since the program has been established. Kigar said, “I think that this is a great program to have on campus, and I have seen more students attending various events on campus over the years. I actually was not aware that there was a way to track my points, and have not seen an information board at any event.”

Weekly print outs of the membership database are made available for review at tables located at athletic events. The print out gives students an updated readout of their total points.

he prizes distributed include- tee-shirts, back sacks, seat cushions and water bottles. The program also offers raffle prizes, for anyone who gets over 5000 points. The prize in- cluded in the grand raffle include a semester worth of books, $500 to spend at Bon Appetit, an electric scooter, as well as many other prizes.

Janzen said, “We wanted for more students to come out, but we also wanted to increase student retention, and increase participation on campus, this is what has been the driving forces of the program.”

According to Janzen, the idea to include faculty, staff, and alumni rewards program is in consideration. However, there is no funding to execute such an advancement.

Janzen said the overall success of the program has been seen from one year to the next. Prizes have increased and the communications between students and administrators of the rewards programs has improved.

Lindsey Pappas, a senior hospitality major only found out about the event two weeks ago when she attended Midnight Madness. Pappas said, “I never saw any advertising for the rewards program, but when I went to Midnight Madness they were swiping everyone’s cards, I thought it was to verify I was a student, but I came to find out it was for the rewards program.”

Janzen said, “We want to make sure that there is belief in the pro- gram, we want to always stay cre- ative, and execute on our promises with prizes.”

For more info, visit www.face- book.com/studentrewardsprogram

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

News Editor: Erick Montes

Behind the Scenes: Kevin Kunze

Kevin Kunze holds the video camera that he recently purchased to shoot “Id” his first feature length film.  Picture by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Kevin Kunze holds the video camera that he recently purchased to shoot “Id” his first feature length film. Picture by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Junior Kevin Kunze has recurring nightmares about having laser eye surgery go awry. Though he wears contact lenses to correct his vision, he would not consider getting his eyes permanently fixed with the slightly risky procedure. “It’s not worth the risk when you count on your eyes for your future,” he said.

He’ll certainly need them for his upcoming project, his first feature length film, Id, which he hopes to start filming as soon as this month. The film will be counted as a directed study with media studies professor Melinda Stone and he will be blogging updates at kevinkunze.tumblr.com.

A media studies major and film studies minor, Kunze is a filmmaker who produced his first project at age seven. It was a short horror film starring his friends set in Stratford, Conn. where he grew up. When the tape they had filmed on was ruined after working on their masterpiece all day, they redid it the following day. Kunze said the results were much better the second time around; it was his first lesson in the laborious production process.

Since then Kunze estimated he has worked on over 150 short films, including short documentaries, dramas, animations, and paid commercials. He has had a YouTube video go viral, produced a segment for a show on Punjabi TV in India, and had films screened in festivals around the world. He was hired as a lab monitor for the USF media lab his freshman year and has been a TA for advanced film classes, usually positions reserved for upperclassmen. He also interns at Microcinema International, an independent film distribution company, and works as a resident adviser in Pedro Arrupe hall.

Now Kunze is embarking on the challenge of a feature length film, a process that may well take a year or two and brings with it obstacles not yet presented to him in the world of short films. Finding actors has been more challenging, he said, due to the longer time commitment for which they will have to sign contracts. Securing locations for an extended period of time is also difficult, especially because of the unusual settings the film Id calls for.

The film is set in an underground fallout shelter, where four friends are experiencing their own personal losses (death of parents, a stillborn baby, a runaway cat) while dealing with the possibility of the world coming to an end. It is a sort of existential thriller according to Kunze. He said, “People keep approaching me saying, ‘I don’t get it, but it seems cool.’” The important thing to Kunze is that he gets it. “I can picture the entire story without looking at the script,” he said. The themes of the film are loss and mortality, but ultimately sends a message to embrace the present instead of dwelling on past and future.

Editing is Kunze’s favorite part of the production process. “Editing is unique to film as an art form. It’s like sculpting through time.” Kunze appreciates every aspect of the process though, from writing the script to filming. “Filming can be stressful. There are always accidents,” he said. “You just hope they become happy accidents.”

In the pre-production stage, there is still much to do. Though some of his actors and locations are determined, others are not. He is still actively seeking actors, and wants to recruit students if possible. His to-do list may be full, but Kunze feels confident that the film will happen.

Kunze is attempting to work very low budget. Actors will be paid based on a percentage of the film’s profits. Props are mostly being donated or acquired on the cheap. As for the camera, Kunze recently pawned off some of his possessions to invest in his own high definition camera.

To see some of Kunze’s work, click here.