By Steven Krolak
A young woman broods, rises from her bed, moves through cool blue rooms, runs through a field, stops to listen and look, paces her living room, sits down and gets up, drifts through blurred spaces, gently imploding.
Scenes from the film, Battle, by IU Southeast senior fine art student Cody Tevis of Floyds Knobs, Ind.
The film is a journey inside and through the experience of a woman fighting depression. It’s a stunning debut that unfolds like a dream, wordlessly, at once visceral and ethereal, opaque yet intimate. And it has just been selected to The ModCon London Film Festival (UK), a quarterly online festival recognizing outstanding films in areas of global concern.
In addition, the film has been named to the Short of the Month Online Festival, a monthly contest with submissions of independent short films, music videos and documentaries from around the world.
For Tevis, the recognition from prestigious international bodies is confirmation of his vision, and a big boost to his aspirations.
A graduate of Floyd Central High School, Tevis displayed an early interest in radio and television and was encouraged by his teacher, Tim Dench.
“He had so much passion for this art, and that ignited the same passion in me,” Tevis said.
That passion led him to attend IU Southeast, initially in graphic design. When the digital art and interactive media program was launched two years ago, he shifted his energy to film-making, his first love.
The idea for Battle had been in his mind for over two years, said Tevis, but he had never had access to the right technology. Through the digital art program, he finally had the right equipment to bring his vision to reality.
That equipment included a 4k Black Magic Production camera, Canon 50mm fl.4 prime lens, and digital editing programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition.
According to Tevis, Battle is the result of detailed planning, a feverish, inspired and very cold day of filming in the area starring a coworker with acting experience, and several concentrated hours of editing based on tight story-boarding.
“Depression is rarely a win-lose situation,” Tevis said of the film’s theme. “You may win some days and lose others, so for people who deal with this, it’s a daily battle.”
Despite the film’s loose feel, it was in fact intricately constructed.
“Every shot was intentionally planned and given a purpose,” said Tevis.
Tevis described his role on Battle as a “one man band” in which he functioned as writer, producer, director, cinematographer, audio engineer, editor, and guerrilla marketing department.
“Cody’s hard work and dedication led to his film being at a level of success that allowed him to compete with film-making professionals in an international context,” said Tiffany Carbonneau, assistant professor of fine art and head of the digital art and interactive media concentration.
“He has a keen ability to creatively frame scenes that allow us to empathize with the emotion of the character and pushes himself to combine manual camera exposure with new techniques to capture scenes that are beautifully cinematic,” Carbonneau said.
While Battle has been submitted for consideration to ten other festivals, Tevis is already at work on a new film which he described as a traditional narrative about a troubled young girl in a difficult domestic situation. It’s a much larger effort, a 25-minute film with six actors and actresses and a production crew of seven.
Tevis would like to continue making films, with the goal of working in the field in some capacity.
“I don’t see myself doing one thing, but doing a lot of different things – graphics, printing, motion pictures,” he said. “As long as I am creating and making things that people need and use, that’s what I care about, and that can be expressed in different forms.”
The digital art and interactive media (DAIM) curriculum is a concentration in fine art that focuses on individualized student interests. Students in the DAIM concentration are working in film, fine art photography, video art, audio art, glitch art, and projection mapping. The concentration seeks to parallel contemporary trends and advancements in technology and allow fine art students the experiences with current digital processes they need in order to be successful after graduation. To learn more contact Tiffany Carbonneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homepage photo courtesy of Cody Tevis.