We recently read Avi Segaloff’s critique of the OCC Shorts showcase at the Newport Beach Film Festival in the article “Films fire up festival,” (May 2) and we’re delighted that he covered the event. However, we were a little surprised by a comment he made about our film: “All of the pieces were well-made, in my opinion, except for one I did not particularly enjoy. The film ‘Discarded’ had a few roughly put-together clips but was still very moving.” We feel, as do the faculty of the film department, that our film was extremely well edited and that his comment that our film “had a few roughly put-together clips” was a little unfair and posed the idea that we sloppily threw this film together, in disregard to the attention to detail as well as the weeks put toward editing.
After much investigation, we later found out, however, that Avi has no expertise in filmmaking, which is evident in his interpretation. In one scene, where the protagonist has been swiftly evicted from his home, a technique used involved intentionally repetitious cuts in order to symbolically amplify the character’s mental dilemma of being torn between two ends, as well as the feeling of time passing; a similar technique was used successfully by director Christopher Nolan in his critically acclaimed film “The Dark Knight.” In cases like this, it becomes ever more important that the critic possesses an ability to differentiate artfulness from thoughtlessness, for less experienced writers, when in doubt, can quite easily miss the point. While there is always a degree of subjectivity involved, writers such as Avi, who take dramatic standpoints in spite of their inexperience, can often give readers an inaccurate account with respect to the quality of the work in question. For fledgling student filmmakers, press can be a very delicate and valuable thing.
That said, we welcome criticism, especially if it is constructive; false or uninformed criticism, on the other hand, has no place in journalism and the Coast Report should have been more attentive to this, as there are readers among us who take such opinions seriously. We also would have thought that Avi would have been more supportive and encouraging of his fellow students. That said, we still encourage the Coast Report to pursue its reports in the field, but urge that it maintains a positive outlook, and abstains from belittling fellow student works.
Alastair and Richard Purvis
OCC film students