Flying Horse Films hosts spring screening of creative student films

May 7, 2023, 11:12 p.m.

On Thursday, student-led production company and film club Flying Horse Films hosted its spring screening of five student-produced short films at Oshman Hall in the McMurtry Building. Given that the event fell on May 4th, National Star Wars Day, viewers were also invited to show up in Star Wars-themed clothing, though only a few participated. 

Aiden Choi ’23 debuted his first film, “Major’s League,” taking the audience on a ride for some good old-fashioned comedic delinquency. Starring Andre Brilliant ’24 and Victor Ragsdale ’19, the short film follows a goofy prank carried out by a master prankster and failed baseball player.

Bumbling yet also surprisingly adept, the pranksters manage to get green dye and super glue into the star baseball player’s beloved hair. The act isn’t fulfilled without its consequences, of course. Ragsdale’s character ends up with a black eye during his unsuccessful attempt to sneak out and Brilliant must revive the unconscious star baseball player. 

From hilariously up-close shots of the unconscious baseball player on the bathroom floor to the sneaky, “Pink Panther” reminiscent soundtrack, Choi’s film was a favorite for many, judging by the audience’s laughter. Creative cinematography also helped make the film memorable. One scene was shot so that it felt like the audience was also crammed in the dorm bathroom stall hiding out with the pranksters. Despite “Major’s League” being his first film, Choi made it clear that he is no amateur when it comes to fun storytelling.

Wilder Seitz ’23 presented “Elle of the Lake,” starring Arielle Devito ’21 and Seitz himself. Seitz shared with the audience that it was indeed “one of the coolest experiences” he has had, although having only spent $40 to produce the whole film.

“Film can be intimidating as an art form, but that really doesn’t have to be the case!” Seitz said as he encouraged other budding filmmakers to pursue their own visions despite a big budget or fancy equipment. 

“Elle of the Lake” depicts a quirky, adorable friendship between Seitz’s character and the creature of Stanford’s very own Lake Lagunita. As the two read linguistics textbooks and eat soup together, the film evokes a very real appreciation for even the most mundane aspects of life. The camera captures ethereal moments at the lake from sunrise and sunset, a reminder of the beauty found all around us. 

Afterward came a film with a more serious tone —  “Going to the Party” by Rosana Maris Arias ’23. It centers on a shy, introverted girl named Quetzal (played by cecilia valencia gonzález ’23) attempting to navigate social life in college.

In an effort to break out of her shell, Quetzal ventures to a campus party, only to be ditched by her friends and left alone with the creepy fraternity boy Parker (played by Zhang Baihan ’25). Parker has an unsettling and discomforting presence, with corny lines like “You’re not like other girls… you’re prettier than other girls” leading the audience to, surprisingly, break into laughter. 

Quetzal decides to leave the party quickly after battling off unwanted advances by Parker, remaining silent about the matter to her friends and her parents. Maris Arias’ film closes soberly with information for reaching the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Although perhaps it was unnecessary to use such corny lines, the audience’s laughter in reacting to this film could be a testament to how seriously we address such issues.

On the more lighthearted side, the first show screened was “The Birthday Message,” created by Adam Chin ’23. Shot entirely on an iPhone, the film features a misguided but humorous attempt to deliver birthday wishes. Skya Theobald ’24 stars as the young granddaughter, Coral, determined to get her father a perfect “Happy Birthday” message from her grumpy grandfather (played by PWR lecturer Tom Freeland). 

To end the night, Flying Horse Films premiered the music video, “Wouldn’t Say No,” written and directed by Theobald with music by Julia Rose Segal ’25. The film examines the blurring of the boundary between friends and lovers. The provocative music video follows photographer Grace (played by Anna Zheng ’25) as she pines for her best friend (played by Binh Nguyen ’23), who is already in a committed relationship with her boyfriend.

Contrastive visual elements are incorporated throughout the video — dreamy dark blue hues are juxtaposed with warm yellow flames. This creative choice is perhaps an echo of the two friends’ opposing dilemmas with queerness and heterosexuality.

With a variety of pieces and experiences to showcase, the spring screening served as a delightful outlet for film lovers and creators to escape the midterm chaos of Week 5. 

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.

Hana Dao is a vol. 264 Science Technology News desk editor. In addition to writing for the Daily, she enjoys discussing fashion and having picnics on campus.

Login or create an account