Only a handful of filmmakers have their work selected to screen at the Traverse City Film Festival each summer and even fewer of those selected are students.
Though LSA senior Bhanu Chundu has not yet received his degree, that hasn’t kept him from creating films with the same cinematic quality as professional filmmakers. Over the past year Chundu has served as president of both the Film and Video Student Association and MFlick. These clubs aim to bring popular movies to the University, sometimes even before they hit theaters as sneak previews.
But watching blockbuster movies is only part of being a film student. Chundu is just as much a creator of movies as he is a fan of them.
“It’s really cool to go in rehearsals and go with the actors because that’s where the movie changes the most,” Chundu said. “And it also branches out to everything, so performances affect cinematography and production design and music. So it’s cool being at the base level and molding it.”
Chundu, a screen arts and culture major, has directed several films, including “Camp Chapel,” in which a high school student is sent to Bible camp for spring break as punishment, and “Appleville,” a comedic drama in which a bus of elderly mall patrons becomes the center of a heist. “Camp Chapel” premiered over the summer at the Traverse City Film Festival and “Appleville” opened in late March in Detroit.
Chundu said being a part of those two projects are his proudest accomplishments because it allowed him to put theory to practice and collaborate with fellow student filmmakers.
“You spend a lot of time in classes learning and taking blue books, and it’s cool to put it all together, and you make your best friends there,” he said.
Chundu directed “Appleville” over the summer in Ann Arbor and Detroit as a part of the Michigan Creative Film Alliance, a program in which students from the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University work together to produce films.
After graduating this spring, Chundu plans to move to Los Angeles to look for a job in the film industry.
“I’d like to continue working in movies and working in production and exploring that — working all the different positions,” Chundu said. “I think it would be really fun. I’m obsessed with movies.”