OU alumnus enters short film to festivals

Rachel Williams, Life Editor

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Nicholas Swatz, Oakland University cinema studies alumnus, recently released the short film “The Provenance.”

Swatz worked with fellow cinema studies alumna, Amber Stankoff, who came onto the project as an editor for post-production work and assistant director.

The film follows a character named Amanda, played by Oakland music theatre graduate Anna Marck, as she finds her way through a post-rapture reality.

Amanda grapples with loneliness and basic survival until she encounters a “fallen angel,” Ethan, who is played by OU graduate Bobby Brooks.

The soundtrack, screenplay and even boom operations were completed by OU alumni.

The crew shot the film across two days, then moved to post-production for editing, color correction and adding the original score and a choral piece composed by Collin R. Kuss.

Swatz was inspired by Ben Richardson’s cinematography in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” for this film and screenwriter Connor Grayling drew inspiration from the Sia song “Alive.”

“I was really ignited by Ben Richardson’s cinematography in that film, and I wanted to set out to create something in the same vein,” Swatz said. “[I] sort of explored the idea of ‘the other,’ which in our case was Ethan, a fallen angel.”

The film touches on some Biblical allusions, but the team was careful to not center the message on Christian theology.

“I hope this film allows audiences to see a different perspective on the subject matter – our film is very up for interpretation,” Stankoff said.

In “The Provenance,” the Creator has to rebuild the world and Amanda stays on Earth for the next cycle of humanity rather than going to Paradise, extending the film’s message to cover a larger religious scope.

“At the root of everything, we all believe in the same thing, we just have different words for it,” Swatz said. “We did a lot of research into different religions and belief systems and we discovered that most stories of the ‘end of times’ were very similar to one another.”

Swatz and Stankoff are submitting the film to several festivals, as well as the Click on Detroit Film Challenge. For more information on the challenge, visit clickondetroit.com.

Following “The Provenance,” Swatz hopes to get his company Baby Pomegranate Productions functioning as a larger entity and continue his freelance work in cinematography and photography.

He encourages others in the entertainment field to work on their craft daily and grow with it.

“[Art] is always evolving, always changing . . . it’s alive. Art is alive, it’s an organism.”