The Cal Student Film Archive

Cal's Student Film Archive, a Collection of Student Films made at UC Berkeley, which strives to provide a as-complete-as possible, publicly accessible, free record and embedding of films made..

Origins and Sustainability

One of my main issues when deciding about coming to UC Berkeley or not was that I had no idea what kind of student films came out of Berkeley. Granted, oftentimes it is the individual and not the school that is responsible for making a good student film, but the student films coming out of an institution usually reflect on qualities of that very school.

So, to fill the void, here is an attempt at organizing, curating and archiving as many quality student films made at UC Berkeley as possible. It’s part of the effort I started during my first semester at UC Berkeley, namely the Cal Film RUB – an in-depth collection of filmmaking resources in and around UC Berkeley.

If you are a Student (Undergraduate or Graduate) at UC Berkeley, no matter what department, and made a student film of high artistic or technical value, please send it to me at tobias@tobiasdeml.com and I will gladly exhibit and archive it here in this central place. See bottom of article for submission info.

There are various events and places in Berkeley where student filmmaking work is exhibited and archived. That would be the Eisner Award in Film and Video (complete list), the BAM/PFA, the GIANT Film Festival, and the Media Resource Center. Usually it’s an either-or type issue: Either exhibited or archived, no central place, and you might not have the time or patience to go and physically dig through film rolls, video tapes and DVDs from past student filmmakers at Cal. Since we’re in 2013 and assuming that students don’t delete their work, the idea of an online resource seems best fitting; the display through streamed video that is hosted on large cloud / Web 2.0 servers with multiple redundancies (like youtube and vimeo) seems the most progressive, even though it probably won’t rival physical film rolls in its chance for survival in the next 100 years.

I for my part can only vouch that I will keep this blog/resource online as long as I live.
If the Film Department agrees to take over the archive and maintain it, I will happily entrust them with a copy of the Archive, its collection and curative responsibilities that come with it. Enough sentimentality, here is the Archive:

The Inofficial [Curated] Cal Student Film Archive @ UC Berkeley

  • Current # of films: 20
  • Current years of creation: 2014-2009

The Archive is grouped in four distinct categories, which somewhat reflect the content being output by UC Berkeley students during their time of study:

  • Avant-Garde Films
  • Documentary Films
  • Narrative Films
  • Visual Essay Films

Entries are sorted by Year of Completion (newest first) & in alphabetical order. Sometimes they include additional links like facebook pages, behind the scenes videos, websites, IMDB entries and more.

  • 2014

    • “Bambo + Janice Wedding Trailer” by Chris Watters & Jennifer Mae Watters – VISUAL ESSAY


      Cameras used: 5Dmk3 and RED Epic.
    • “Visiting the DKA Archive” by Tobias Deml – VISUAL ESSAY

      Going back into history, the film takes us through an excursion to the underground archive at USC, which were founded and grown by the legendary Herb Farmer. Current archivist Dino Everett showed us around, taught us how to splice 16mm film the original way and gave us some insight in DKA history. Delta Kappa Alpha is a national professional Co-Ed Cinema Fraternity, with 11 Chapters in the United States. More at dka.org. Shot & Edited by Tobias Deml, January 2014.

  • 2013

    • “A Day in the Week” by Harry Heng – NARRATIVE

      A college student overwhelmed by the duress and monotony of school finds solace in a day off.

    • “Concrete Gardens” by Tobias Deml, Marc Estrada and Spencer Maley – DOCUMENTARY


      “Concrete Gardens” is a documentary about urban farming – taking responsibility for food and producing it locally in the densely populated areas of the 21st century.  All of us can identify vacant, empty spaces in our neighborhoods, and turn them into productive urban farms – like the individuals in this film.

    • “Full Funding” by Chris Watters – NARRATIVE


      Finalist at CMF, Screened at Cannes. Cameras used GoPro Hero3  5Dmk3.
    • “Guard” by Sureya Melkonian – NARRATIVE


      A guard gets into trouble at the museum he works at. A project for Fall 2013 semester’s Film 185 “Narrative Shorts” taught by M. Kopell at U.C. Berkeley. Writer/Director: Sureya Melkonian, Director of Photography: Joanna Lehrmann, Assistant Director: Fernando Ramos
    • “Leland the Demon” by Andrew Balcof and Marc Estrada – NARRATIVE


      After a family of humans moves into a residence occupied by a demon family, Leland, a human removal expert is called in to do what he does best. Created by Team Deamon in 2013 as part of the Campus MovieFest at UC Berkeley.

    • “Mean Genes” by Mark Walberg – NARRATIVE


      Wading in the adolescent doldrums, a kid digests a self-help book in an attempt to “get the girl.” However becoming an image of cool may be too much to swallow.

    • “Not All French Boys Are Romantic” by Mark Walberg – NARRATIVE


      Two girls, obsessed with French culture, discover jealousy and friendship when the opportunity to go out with a leading Parisian arises.

    • “Password” by Chris Watters – DOCUMENTARY


      Camera used: 5Dmk3.
    • “Pillow Talk” by Daniel Seman – NARRATIVE

      A brief discussion in bed, early on in a relationship between a man and woman, encapsulates their long, tumultuous time together.

    • “Re-Entry” by Chris Watters – NARRATIVE


      Chris Kinkaid re-enters college and walks through the experience. Through the journey he discovers his strengths, weaknesses and why he went back to school. Created by Major Diamond at University of California, Berkeley in 2013 as part of Campus MovieFest – was Finalist, won Best Picture & Best Cinematography.

    • “REC” by Tobias Deml – AVANT-GARDE

      “REC” was shot on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera; it incorporates elements of glitch art, datamoshing, compression artifacts, spectrogram destruction, pitch and time warping and more. All of the footage and audio that you can see and hear has been custom-created; no sound libraries were used. This is a meditative essay on the digital audiovisual medium. Made in Berkeley, California, December 2013.

    • “The Bridge” by Joanna Lehrmann – NARRATIVE


      A man stands at a bridge contemplating suicide. When things go awry he awakens in the middle of the woods, confronted by the mysterious and enchanting woman in white.

    • “The Last Judgement” by Joanna Lehrmann – NARRATIVE


      Adam has a secret, one he has been hiding from the world for 7 years. Today, that secret has come out. Now, in a cold, dark room, Adam is interrogated by Michael, the man who knows his every secret and has come to decide Adam’s fate.

    • “The Year 3000” by Mark Walberg – NARRATIVE


      A man out of step with an easygoing future, faces the decision of undergoing an operation which could finally help him relax.

    • “Tracing Paper” by Sureya Melkonian – DOCUMENTARY


      Character study of a tracer. Created by the production team Smart Nice Kids at University of California, Berkeley in 2013 as part of Campus MovieFest. Co-Director: Narineh Melkonian, Director of Photography: Sureya Melkonian, Music Composer: Kamyar Jarahzadeh

    • “TransFLOWmation” by Joseph Finton  – DOCUMENTARY

      TransFLOWmation is a fifteen minute documentary on some of the best flow artists and object manipulators in the Bay area.  Lucidity Festival, Bass Wars, The Flow Show, Frosty Fractals, The Fire Expo, and various fire jams are featured in this film.  Directed, filmed, and edited by Joseph Finton.  Songs by Jpod, Shigeto,  G-jones Remixed by the Widdler, Pretty Lights, Jack Beats, and Netsky.

    • “UC Berkeley Student Film Montage Class of 2013” by Various – NARRATIVE


      UC Berkeley Class of 2013 Student Film Montage, edited by Ryan Weaver. This is a collection of various student films made during the 2012/2013 academic year, and was displayed during the graduation ceremony.

  • 2012

    • “Dead Week” by Melanie De Anda – NARRATIVE


      After taking study pills to get through the week of studying before finals known as “Dead Week”, students begin to turn into zombies. Created by Hiroshima Carp at University of California, Berkeley in 2012 as part of Campus MovieFest.

    • “Foot-Print” by Chris Watters – NARRATIVE


      Foot·print is a short film about the UC Berkeley Cal Veteran’s Group. It started out as a simple video project to get other veterans interested in joining and then morphed into a montage of powerful images and statements. Cameras used: 5Dmk2  and 5Dmk3
    • “Nocturne” by Kevin Tam – NARRATIVE


      After a recent car crash, a pill-addicted gangster returns to his dirty work despite his current condition. Created by Outspire at University of California, Berkeley in 2012 as part of Campus MovieFest

  • 2011

    • “Rearview Mirror” by Mark Walberg – AVANT-GARDE
      A depiction of a certain moment in young lives; crucial moments of change and upheaval, where one longingly gazes back as they move forward into an unforeseen future.
      Along side, is an illustration of a small town in a period of recession and stagnation. The past, the future, and the journey that brings the two together, are here contemplated and portrayed as the interwoven process of growing up.

    2010

    • “Underneath” by Kristoph Oedman – NARRATIVE


      Employing a real homeless man to play the protagonist, this team aimed to create a story about homelessness that was truly authentic, drawing on real life emotions that the actor had experienced before making the film. Created by De Rothschild at University of California, Berkeley in 2010 as part of Campus MovieFest.

  • 2009

    • “Blank” by Justin S. Lee & Kevin Tam – NARRATIVE


      A mid-rank gangster who is part of a dysfunctional family must decide whether to side with his father, a ruthless, over-bearing triad boss, or save his younger brother, an innocent idealist who wants to leave the family business at any cost. Created by Juntao Productions at University of California, Berkeley in 2009 as part of Campus MovieFest.

  • 2008

  • 2007

Submit Your Film

To submit your film, simply shoot me an email at tobias@tobiasdeml.com with:

  1. Title of your film
  2. Link to your film (Vimeo & Youtube or other serious video cloud hosting systems preferred)
  3. Description of your film (max. 200 words)
  4. Additional Links – behind the scenes videos, IMDB entry, facebook page, website etc. (the more, the better). You can also provide an email address if you want to enable viewers to contact you about your film.

As a final note, the archive will never have a complete record of all films ever made at UC Berkeley. If that was the case, any cellphone video made by a UC Berkeley student would have to be listed here. This particular artistic archive comes with a sort of curative responsibility – so the films you see above have a certain standard of artistic or technical value. If you have suggestions for a better curating technique, don’t be shy to let me know, and I will be happy to consider your argument.