A first foray for FDUFilm production company

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Above: Members of the FDUFilm film crew on the set of "Title VII," an independent feature film that FDU students crewed and produced over the summer of 2016. (Photos courtesy of FDUFilm)

 

By Dan Landau

For eight days during the summer recess, the Florham Campus was transformed into a set, as students and faculty in the film program (FDUFilm) crewed and produced “Title VII,” a forthcoming movie by independent filmmaker Nicole Franklin.

The film, based on the novel “Within The Walls,” by Daisy M. Jenkins, examines racial discrimination in the workplace. The story revolves around Hillary Kelsey, CEO of a fictitious consulting firm and a black woman with no black employees. Directed and co-written by Franklin, the film is in final production now. When finished, it is expected to clock in at 75-80 minutes.

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The film, still in the final phases of editing, was accepted to the Urbanworld Film Festival, and clips will screen on Thursday, Sept. 22 in New York City.

The production of “Title VII” is milestone for FDUFilm and its burgeoning film production program. “We’ve started a program to partner with outside film companies where FDUFilm works as both the on-set production crew handling the lighting, sound, etc. and also as a full production department, where we act as assistant director, manage the crew, and all the administrative work that needs to be done for a film,” says Howard Libov, chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts in FDU’s Becton College.

“The way it works, is the outside film people bring the script and other professionals — in ‘Title VII’s’ case, the director of photography — and we do all the production work, just as though we were a regular production company. We have no business position in the film,” continues Libov.

By not writing the script, directing, or underwriting the projects, FDUFilm is free to work with a larger circle of professionals.

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“We don’t need to convince people to work on our projects, we’re helping them with theirs. For many years, we’ve been developing students who excel at producing. The point of this program is to connect talented writers and directors with our students,” says Libov. Producing films like “Title VII,” is “a way to expose students to a professional environment where they have high expectations placed on them.”

“Title VII” is FDUFilm’s first venture operating as an independent film production outfit. Going forward, Libov’s goal is to produce up to one feature film for an outside filmmaker each year.