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Arts & Entertainment

COM Filmmaker Tells Friends, “Go Fly a Kite””

Film wins slot at country’s largest student film festival

Jeff Boedeker (COM'08) (right) filming "Kite Club" with Matt Lawrence (COM'08) (left) and Elisa Zirate. Photo courtesy of Jeff Boedeker

For Jeff Boedeker (COM’08), it began with pieces: four friends, a film festival, and a kite. Tiny things that — put together — seem incongruous. But when he placed them side by side, they became an idea that became an experiment that led to an unexpected slot in Campus MovieFest (CMF), the world’s largest student film festival.

Boedeker, a tutor at the College of Communication writing center,  discovered one day last year that a colleague at work liked to fly kites in his spare time. Boedeker couldn’t shake off the image of a grown man walking to the park to fly a kite for fun, and told his three best friends — Ryan Conrath (COM’08), Matt Lawrence (COM’08), and Charlie Anderson (COM’08) — about his idea for a film: three friends, three kites, one club, and a disruption that could change their lives forever. The whole thing was conceptual — Boedeker had no script and no storyboards. Still, they all agreed to play a character in the film.

“I knew the humor would come from taking the ordinary and pushing it to the extreme,” says Boedeker.

In line with CMF rules, Boedeker had five days to set up, shoot, and edit the film into a five-minute segment. The process of setting up and shooting was fun, he says, since the entire script was improvised. But when he hit the editing process, he almost gave up on the project altogether.

“It was Ryan who said, ‘I really think you have something here,’” says Boedeker. And he remembered that earning a graduate degree is not about exams or professors, but about making good films.

Working long, tedious hours, he eventually whittled down the three hours of footage to produce Kite Club. Boedeker thought it was funny, but he had no idea what kind of response it would get from an audience.

When he submitted the film for the Campus MovieFest at BU, held on April 14, he didn’t tell a lot of people, never thinking it would actually be screened at the festival or that, out of the 75 films submitted, it would win the TBS Very Funny Award. Kite Club moved on to the Boston Regional Grande Finale, held at the Colonial Theatre on April 21, competing with top films from MIT, Emerson, Boston College, Northeastern, and Tufts. Again, the film was recognized, winning the Audience Choice Award and going on to the National Grand Finale, held on April 27 in Atlanta. Because Boedeker is originally from Atlanta, an entourage of friends and family members, all carrying kites, showed up in support. There, Kite Club — crafted from tiny moments and competing with films from 25 universities across the country — was named one of the top 16 student films for 2007.

“I didn’t think the style would fit in with the festival,” Boedeker says, so he was surprised when the film was accepted and pleased to find his work affirmed.

Kite Club begins much as the filmmaking process did: a group of friends running down a sidewalk, carrying kites. It’s not clear where they’re going, but it looks like the pieces will come together.

To view the film, visit www.boedekerproductions.com.

Nicole Laskowski can be reached at nicolel@bu.edu.