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Creating Art and Telling Stories with Celluloid Film

David Kime arrived at Franklin & Marshall College interested in studio art, but then he took a class with Jeremy Moss. The assistant professor of film and media studies directed Kime's interest to filmmaking.

"He was my biggest influence," the junior film and media major said.

This summer, as one of F&M's Hackman Scholars -- students who collaborate with faculty on faculty research projects -- Kime embarked with Moss on a project, "Trials of Celluloid: Endeavors in Moving Image Art," that placed Kime center stage in the process of making films.

Kime worked with Moss in shooting two 16 mm films using celluloid film, not computer generated digital images. In moviemaking, digital has replaced film, which to develop is a complicated process that involves enhancing the images by hand and editing by cutting and splicing the film. "He was basically the assistant director of the set," said Moss. 

  • Autumn Research Fair Film Project
  • As a Franklin & Marshall Hackman Scholar, junior David Kime embarked with Jeremy Moss, assistant professor of film and media studies, on "Trials of Celluloid: Endeavors in Moving Image Art," a project that placed Kime center stage in the process of making films. (Photo by Melissa Hess)

Kime's contributions included a wide range of technical and production duties required to get Moss' celluloid works completed. "It was such a good way to bring me into the more concrete ideas of what film art is all about," Kime said.

The first of Moss' 15- to 20-minute films was shot at Eastern State Penitentiary, the 184-year-old, stone-like fortress in Philadelphia that is now a historic site open to the public. The film contemplates reform and film itself, Moss said. The other film, shot in the basement in the millhouse at F&M's Millport Conservancy, is an abstract study about repetitive dance. It features Pamela Vail, a dancer and assistant professor of dance at F&M. It's also an artisanal film, in which the celluloid is bleached, hand painted, dyed, cracked, and scratched, a process called "affecting."

"DJ helped with the scratching and hand painting," said Moss, referring to Kime by his nickname. "By the time we were affecting the film it was a creative partnership."

Kime learned in the process about all the different possibilities that film presents. "It's expanded my interest in film in so many ways," he said. "It's about the all-around sensational experience and trying to get so many different components to work together."

After completing the two films, Kime helped Moss prepare them to submit to international film festivals around the world. Moss said Kime created an elaborate spreadsheet listing about 150 festivals to which Moss could submit his films.

"He learned what happens to the film after its completion, which is preparing him nicely for a filmmaking career," Moss said.

When not immersed in studies, Kime plays at the Badminton Club and works as a clerk at the College's Facilities and Operations Department. After graduating from F&M, Kime plans to attend film school. He wants to launch a career in directing, writing and producing, although he says producing is less a desire than a necessity because it involves financing films.

"I find more creative freedom in the directing and writing," he said.

Kime is still mulling what type of films he wants to make. "Probably narrative films with a mixture of experimental elements in them. Hopefully, feature films, though I don't know if the plan is to break into Hollywood. I would say more independent filmmaking."