The World Premiere of Cycle, a UW Oshkosh Student Film

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At the world premiere of the UW Oshkosh student short film Cycle, there was not a single empty seat to be found in all of Reeve Union Theater—there were even people sitting on the stairs! After watching the film, it became very clear why so many people were there to enjoy its debut.

In a nutshell, I enjoyed the film and the Q&A that followed very much. But since you probably didn’t get to see it, let me explain what Cycle is all about.

Cycle tells the story of “a scientist trapped in perpetual grief (…) [in] the sub-level of a science facility” where he tries to create life without reproduction. The haunting storyline unfolds as the scientist’s history is revealed through a series of gruesome flashbacks. I won’t spoil the twist ending for those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, but you won’t be disappointed.

It was written, produced and directed by UW Oshkosh Radio/TV/Film students Mark Mazur and Trent Hilborn, along with producer James Rautmann. This is the fourth film Mazur and Hilborn have collaborated on together and a first for Rautmann working with the pair.

One of my favorite things about the film was its original musical score composed by Andre Gaskins, who is currently part of the music faculty here at UW Oshkosh and the Director of Orchestral Activities and Cello. Gaskins voluntarily created the score for the film.

Another thing that grabbed my attention was the acting. Radio/TV/Film and Theatre major Matthew Scales played the lead role of the scientist. Scales said that working on Cycle was one of the harder roles he’s tackled in his acting career, especially because it had very little dialogue. His performance was spot-on as the grief-stricken scientist and he captured the desperation of the character very well. Other cast members included Radio/TV/Film and Spanish major Jessica Westlund and 7-year-old Alden Gaskins, playing the roles of the scientist’s wife and son respectively.

From the special effects to the editing to the overall end product, Cycle was put together astoundingly well — and was produced with only a $1,250 budget. The film is now on the festival track and the directors were just notified that it is an “Official Selection” for the 38th Annual Student Academy Awards competition through The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Translation: That’s AWESOME!)

Above is the letter received by UW Oshkosh student Trent Hilborn from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Overall, I had a great time at the premiere and can’t wait to see what awards this awesome student film racks up.

Oh, and in case you’re curious… my absolute favorite part of the night was when Alden Gaskins’ older sister raised her hand at the Q&A to ask why they cast her little brother. Alden matter-of-factly stated: “Because I’m probably so cute.” Best answer ever.

For more photos and information on the film, you can also check out Cycle out on Facebook.

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