And the winner is …

Adam Black, a native of Hershey, Pa., has been making films since middle school. A student in the School of Communications and Theater as a film and media arts major, he said he moved toward

Adam Black, a native of Hershey, Pa., has been making films since middle school. A student in the School of Communications and Theater as a film and media arts major, he said he moved toward film because of the gratification of seeing a completed project and the creative process.

Black is one of many students in his major who can participate in the program’s Senior Project, which requires students to apply to the two-semester program. The best-completed projects are screened at Temple’s prestigious Diamond Screen Student Film Festival in May.

Black, who is working on the film Or the Terrorists Have Won, said some of his favorite filmmakers are Richard Kelly, Spike Jonze and Wes Anderson.

His film is a farce about America’s current political culture. Black said the inspiration for his work came to him while at a bar listening to an independent band. The band concluded their piece by promoting the Kerry campaign.

He said he thought it would be funny if the opposite would happen – the impetus for his script was born.

In the film, a conservative band promotes the fictitious and draconian Republican candidate, Rob Jimson. In the process, he satirizes both political parties.

“The lack of youth voter turnout really bothers me, and I don’t understand why more young people are not involved in the political process,” Black said.

Black said he has encountered numerous mishaps in the process of making his film. One of his lead actors quit because of a scheduling conflict. Lack of funding, climate and lighting issues threatened a smooth production.

Securing locations and working with location regulations also posed a challenge. Despite all of that, Black said, “I am most looking forward to the Battle of the Bands scene. This scene is the climax where the progressive and conservative bands face off,” he said.

He said filming the concert excites him because he is a musician who has played guitar, saxophone, drums, bass and piano. He is currently in the band Algebra of Need.

Josh Ryan

At 8 years old, Josh Ryan was watching a movie when he turned to his father and said, “That’s what I wanna do for a living, dad.”

Ever since he has worked in pursuit of that dream. He enrolled in Cinekyd, a school for television production for youth under 18.

Ryan bought his first camera when he was just 10 years old and his first editing equipment when he was 13.

He started an audio video club and made productions while in high school. Ryan has interned at Twentieth Century Fox, MGM and Atmosphere Entertainment. As a freshman, he worked on the 48 Hour Film Festival and was employed at Temple’s film equipment office.

Ryan’s thesis evolved out of a script written by his friend, Kevin Seidman. Simon is a drama exploring interpersonal relationships and the potential for greatness.

The protagonist, Simon, is an accomplished psychologist who uses his uncanny ability to delve into the subconscious for his practice with unmatched results.

He soon discovers he has a tumor that threatens his gift, while his wife Rachael learns she is expecting a child.

The dichotomies within the two main characters, Simon and Klein, are issues to be explored. Simon is a young man with a taste for antiques, where Klein is an elderly man who wants to be young and hip.

Russell Carpenter, James Carpenter’s director of photography, and Conrad L. Hall, cinematographer of American Beauty, are some of Ryan’s aesthetic influences. Good Will Hunting, American Beauty, Schindler’s List and Swingers are some of his favorite works.

“I do film because I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Ryan said.

Senior projects are winding up preproduction and preparing to shoot over the next month.

Their senior theses will provide them with the highest quality equipment and invaluable experience.

The coming weeks will find Temple’s student filmmakers hard at work developing innovative and creative films.

The Film and Media Arts Senior Project program has a history of producing critically acclaimed films, from The Hangup to the award-winning Robot Boy. Academy Award nominee Eran Preis teaches this year’s class of filmmakers.

In 1984, Preis co-wrote Beyond the Walls, which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category.

John Funk can be reached at

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