posted April 12, 2005

Student's Film Honored During Festival

A film by James Morse, a Hope College junior from Naperville, Ill., received recognition during the Reel Thing Film Festival for West Michigan film or video makers.

Morse's film "Louisa and I" was one of three films to receive "Honor Reel" recognition in the Post High School category.

The festival, held on Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 24-26, at the Wealthy Street Theatre in Grand Rapids, recognized film or video makers between the ages of 14 and 21 living in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ionia, Barry and Allegan counties. Films could be up to 20 minutes in length and were evaluated at the High School and Post High School category. Following judging, a total of nine films were recognized with Gold, Silver or Honor Reel recognition during the event's culminating "Best of Show" screening.

"Louisa and I" is a short film based on the writings of Jorge Luis Borges. The title is after one of Borges's short works, "Borges & I," from the collection "Tha Maker."

"The story is not necessarily a narrative," Morse said. "It follows the daily routine of a girl named Louisa. Her routine is our routine, the common everyday processes we all know and carry out with little thought."

"It is narrated by the inner self, and is a sort of critique on the duality of selves," he said. "As the inner self, the Louisa which things happen to comments on the inability of the external Louisa to live a life projected in harmony with the ideals of the inner self."

"The film carries on without any conflict between the two selves, and serves mostly as a study of life, and the complexity of being," he said.

Morse, who is interested in a career in cinematography, transferred to Hope in 2003 from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. "I transferred in order to develop a liberal arts education," said Morse, who is a philosophy major. "I feel that an education from Hope will greatly increase my ability to create interesting work."

Similarly, he is interested in film because of its fullness as a medium.

"Film is the use of all other disciplines," Morse said. "I chose film as a medium for communication because of its depth. Sound and vision, the use of tempo and of image in sync with spoken words which find their beginning on paper."

"Louisa & I" runs six minutes and 32 seconds. All the shooting was done in Holland--primarily in and around Morse's house near Hope, with portions in the college's central Pine Grove and at Riley Park as well. The title character is portrayed by Paris TerKeurst, a Hope freshman from Grand Rapids.