Guest Filmmaker Keri Pickett at University of Minnesota Duluth / November 13, 2018

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UMD Department of Art & Design welcomes documentary filmmaker Keri Pickett as part of our Visual Culture Lecture Series in fall 2018!

Please join us on Tuesday, November 13, 2018

6pm:  Keri Pickett Artist Lecture in Montague Hall 70, Free + Open to the Public
7pm:  Screening /  First Daughter and the Black Snake (following the lecture in Montague Hall 70)

Keri Pickett is a producer, director and photographer. She is the recipient of a 2017 McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Media Arts. Her first documentary feature film The Fabulous Ice Age, winner of an audience award at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and best non-feature film and best non-feature director awards from both the Women’s Indie Film Festival and the Gwinnett International Film Festival. Her second documentary feature, First Daughter and the Black Snake, is an official selection of the Marfa Film Festival, Native Women in Film and Red Nation Film Festival. The film is the winner of the Best MN_Made Documentary Feature from the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival where it received standing ovations in multiple sold-out screenings including a Best of Fest screening. It is distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment.




The Visual Culture Lecture Series is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Duluth School of Fine Arts, John & Mary Gonska Cultural Fund, The Department of Art & Design, and the Tweed Museum of Art.

Zinema Movie Screening

Duluth is lucky to have an art house cinema for viewing independent and more obscure films that do not get screened by the big chain theaters. This semester each filmmaking student was encouraged to get downtown to Zeitgeist / Zinema 2 and view a few films.

Every Wednesday, we’re making it even easier for you to see the latest and greatest in cinema. Every Movie. Every Wednesday. Just $5. Available at the box office only.

Students, Please Don’t forget to upload to the google folder your short reflection on the movie you saw at Zinema… More Info below

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• Zinema 2 / go, view, reflect !

222 E. Superior St.
DuluthMN 55802
Get directions
Your writing/ reflection must note all of this info:

Run time:
Link to the film : (URL of website or trailer)
Story Synopsis:
Visual strengths:
Use of Light / Color:
Digital techniques:
Use of Sound / Music:

ASSIGNMENT:  Short Film Idea / Pitch Project

Film Students: Please meet in the classroom this week for info about the Pitch Assignment. Students who need more time to edit projects 1 and 2 can go to the Multimedia Hub at 3:30 after this discussion. Students who want to shoot location photos for their Pitch projects may use class time to do that, if they are done editing previous 2 assignments. Final Edits for Project 1 and Project 2 are due on Friday September 28, and should be uploaded to the class folder by the end of the week.

I will go over Pitch Project info this week at beginning class. We will brainstorm ideas and begin work on the pitches during class. Pitches are DUE the following week for presentation.

NEXT ASSIGNMENT:  Short Film Idea / Pitch Project

During our class time in second week of October, (Sec 1 on Tues Oct 9, Sec 2 on Wed Oct 10) Each student will PITCH their idea to class. Attendance is required! 

Please read the info below on how to prep your pitch and follow the powerpoint format as outlined. No fancy templates or fonts please! Keep the presentation clean with good visuals to back up your cinematic ideas.


You will have 5 minutes to pitch an idea for a collaborative short film. Prepare an enthusiastic and engaging presentation of an idea for a film you would like to work on. Follow the checklist of points to cover in your pitch. Please keep your pitch under 5 minutes. Your pitch must offer an idea that is realistic within the timeline, technical tools, and financial limitations of our class. Films can be shot in multiple locations, but be realistic about the time it takes to plan and shoot. Pitch ideas can be any genre, in narrative or documentary form. (I will discuss a few exceptions in class).

SAVE THIS INFO to help you prep your pitch!

WHAT TO BRING TO THE PITCH: Paper printout + 10 slides in Powerpoint

Paper Printout: Please bring a one page printout that includes this info:


TEASER: Sum up the storyline of your idea in around 25 words or less. Introduce the characters, their conflict, and the genre or visual style.:

PLEASE PREPARE a SHORT POWERPOINT (10 slides) OR PDF Your presentation must include visuals to support your pitch. Location photos and other visuals should be horizontal in proportions of HD video.


Slide 1 : YOUR NAME


TEASER: Sum up the storyline of your idea in around 25 words or less. Introduce the characters, their conflict, and the genre or visual style.

Slide 2: GENRE / STYLE:

Describe the type of short you want to make, show visual example

Slide 3 : STORY / PLOT:

Short paragraph that expands on the Teaser.

Slides 4-5: Character Descriptions / visual examples

Slides 5-7 : Locations / Settings / visual examples

Slides 8-9 : Additional Visual Examples that support the type of cinematography, visual effects, look / feel of the movie you hope to make. Storyboards, character sketches, still photos… please use horizontal format.

Slide 10 : Special Issues / Time of Day for shoots / restrictions

MORE TIPS on Pitching Film Ideas:

Project 2 : Abundance

Project 2: Abundance / Crowd-Sourced UMD Farm Documentary. This short project engages with the concept of community agriculture and crowd-sourced creativity. Visit the UMD Sustainable Agriculture Project Farm at least twice to shoot video of selected subject. Work in small groups to focus on specific farm topic for subject. Contribute rough clips to shared class folder. Using clips from your group folder, edit your own video portrait of the farm + festival to 30 seconds. Be sure your video includes a start and end with deliberate viewing time. Use start and end media as specified.

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Crowd-Sourced Video Shoot at UMD Land Lab Farm

Location: UMD Land Lab at 3568 Riley Road   Duluth, MN

• FIELD TRIP during class WEEK 3 Please meet in ABAH 335 classroom, then carpool to the farm.

• FARM FEST on SUNDAY Sept 16  12-4pm Farm Fest Event, carpool to the farm if possible, with your group .

• ALL YOUR BEST CLIPS need to get uploaded to the class folder by following class. I recommend you sort and upload your clips within 24 hours of shooting. Title clips if possible, identify best shots, sort out unwanted shots.



About the Land Lab

Don’t forget: CHARGE CAMERAS, BRING MEMORY CARDS. WEAR GOOD WALKING SHOES, JACKETS, Bring Weather protection for electronic equipment + cameras!

At the farm site on field trip, plan to shoot many short clips capturing the light and colors and textures of the farm, what grows there, who works there, etc  Choose a special focus for your shooting, and be sure to get many different shots and angles to capture what you need for a strong edit later. Please be aware to stay out of each other’s shots when possible. Try to be aware of how you impact each other in a crowded setting. Capture ambient sound as best you can. Bring available microphones and expect wind!

AT the site during SUNDAY Farm Festival, plan to shoot shorter and longer clips that document the activities. Students can sign up to focus on the time between 12-2pm (short shots of food buffet, hands on activities, farmer’s market)  OR 2pm-4pm (I need multiple students to document the performance by Magic Smelt puppeteers and musicians with longer shots).


12-4pm Farm Tours, Farmer’s Market, Kid’s Activities

12-2pm UMD Farm Buffet

2pm Magic Smelt Puppet Theater

2:30 – 4pm Live Music



Kohlrabi is the Vegetable of the Year!

Project 1: Shots + Angles + Light

Project 1: Shots + Angles + Light / Explore a specific subject through deliberate choices of Shots + Angles + Light in a short video sequence that employs at least 10 shot types. Work in small teams to shoot, but edit individually. Edit to exactly 30 seconds.  (10 points)

Create drama in your short video by selecting a prop as an “object of desire” and a human subject who interacts with it. Take turns in Motion + Media studio to test creative options for shooting in studio setting (try out chromakey and deliberate lighting.) Try other shots in select campus locations, testing natural light in exterior locations or shooting interiors using available light.

When possible, use a tripod when shooting. First, avoid handheld or camera movement of any kind. Focus on framing and composition of various shots. Subjects may move in or out of frame. Later, test shots with camera movement using fluid-head tripod, rigs or dollies, or careful handheld camera movement.