If you were at Pomona College’s New Student Orientation this year, chances are you sat in an auditorium and watched a hilarious video about a wilderness explorer discovering all the quirky characteristics of the campus and its people. Although the video provided top-notch entertainment, it didn’t even scratch the surface of the immense work done behind the scenes by the 5C group, Studio 47.
With the launch of the annual Short Film Festival last week and the subsequent gathering at Pitzer College’s Grove House, Studio 47 is back on the radar for students interested in film and production.
Located in the basement of Clark V Residence Hall on Pomona’s campus, Studio 47 is the central film and TV production group at the 5Cs. Although Studio 47 and its two branches — Claremont College Television and the Screenwriter’s Guild — have many participating students, the general staff of the office space consists of only six hardworking students.
5C students usually visit the Studio 47 office space for rental purposes. Its abundance of gear and easy accessibility to the public are beneficial to those who want to make films but don’t want to invest in expensive equipment.
“The space and the gear is open to anyone at the 5Cs,” Studio 47 general manager Brian Luna CM ’20 said. “You don’t need to be in a production course; you don’t need experience with cameras. We can help you figure out what you need or what you’re looking for based on what you want to create.”
According to Luna, all you have to do is fill out a form and you can check out equipment for a week at a time. The cameras, especially DSLRs, are always in high demand. Studio 47 tries to buy new equipment to supply that demand every semester, even with its limited budget.
“More people use our rental system than engage with Studio 47 itself and its events,” Studio 47 staff members Isabelle Rogers PO ’20 said.
During every new school year, the two biggest events hosted by Studio 47 are the 47-hour Filmmaking Festival in the first semester and the Short Film Festival held in the second semester. The 47-hour Filmmaking Festival is exactly what it sounds like — a weekend-long film production challenge followed by a screening of the films made.
The Short Film Festival is a platform for student creators, including members of Studio 47, to showcase the short films they’ve created that year. The screening of these films goes alongside an award ceremony of sorts. The films are viewed and judged by 5C faculty from various departments. Along with these big events, Studio 47 also holds creative workshop meetings and panels with alumni and students in the media production industry, Luna said.
A lesser known part of Studio 47 are the subgroups, which Luna referred to as “sister organizations of Studio 47.”
The Screenwriters’ Guild, co-led by Luna, is a group dedicated to screenwriting and students interested in the creative process behind writing scripts for film and television. Luna said that during meetings, the group selects an excerpt from a screenplay or a theme and analyzes the techniques that go in the writing process; they then screen the selected scenes and assess the differences in production.
“Though the group is more discussion based, we do hold writing meetings throughout the semester so people can work on or present their scripts,” Luna said. “We also lead some workshops to help kickstart the creative process.”
CCTV is a branch of Studio 47 that was revived in 2014 and is still growing. The group is focused on helping students who want to create series, especially web series, through creative direction and equipment rentals.
The main goal of Studio 47 is to be all-inclusive and accessible for students across the Claremont Colleges, Luna said. They want as many people who are interested in film and TV production to be able to showcase their creative energy and learn more about the field.
Luna said that although the space is great to explore and learn more about the production process, the people are the best part about working at Studio 47.
“The thing that has kept me coming back is the community,” Luna said. “There’s such great people that I would have never met otherwise. It’s so easy to make friends here from all five campuses and all sorts of majors.”