‘A Wolf Comes at Night’ goes to Hollywood

By Lauren Leazenby, Staff Reporter

Courtesy Orel Chollette
Jazmin Bryant, a cinema art and science major, produced the Hollywood-bound film “A Wolf Comes at Night” in a Columbia practicum course.

One night, on a small ranch in 1980s Illinois, two children and their grandfather are forced to defend their livelihood as a wolf wreaks havoc on the family farm.

Directed by 2018 cinema art and science alumnus Nathan Marquez and produced by senior cinema art and science major Jazmin Bryant, “A Wolf Comes at Night” made its debut Sept. 29 in the Culture and Diversity Film Festival held in the Ruby Theatre of The Complex Hollywood, 6476 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, California.

The film follows Lucy, her brother, Leo, and their grandfather over the course of the night as the wolf destroys their farm. The grandfather expects Leo to act as the man of the house in the face of the threat.

“[The grandfather] grabs a gun, and he tells Leo to go outside and to handle it, to be the man that he wants him to be,” Marquez said. “Lucy, in the moment, does something that surprises everyone.”

The project was produced in practicum, an advanced cinema and television arts workshop course built to mimic the process of working in a film studio.

“The department and the faculty that teaches practicum serve a little bit like what a studio would in Hollywood,” said Carolina Posse, an assistant professor and producing coordinator in the Cinema and Television Arts department.

Bryant and Marquez worked on the project in the Spring 2018 semester, but the process of making a film takes much longer than fifteen weeks—closer to a year and a half, Posse said.

The theme of the film centers on disrupting traditional ideas of femininity and masculinity, Bryant said.

“It really is about switching gender roles and understanding that women have the same power that men do,” she said.

The film also features an all- black cast, including Chicago actor Cedric Young, known for his role as Sonny on “The Chi.”

“It was very important for us to have a cast that was all minority,” Bryant said. “For the director, that was really important.”

Five scripts are chosen by the department for placement in the practicum pool. In the semester prior to the shoot, students apply and interview for “creative head” positions, such as producer or director.

During the semester, the class meets four hours a day, two days per week, which is a lot of work, Bryant said, but it exposes students to how the industry operates.

Even after the end of the semester, work on the film does not cease.

“We continue in post-production, working on the edit, coloring, facts, sound design [and] credits,” Posse said.

Marquez said the practicum course taught him to keep a consistent passion for his projects.

“At the end of the day, if it’s your project, no one else is going to be the most passionate one about it,” he said.

As for consistency, Marquez said post-production involved reaching out to a number of film festivals.

Bryant said the team wanted to pick festivals within the film’s niche—those with a focus on diversity and animals, as the wolf in the film was a real dog on set.

The Culture and Diversity Film Festival is the first festival to screen “A Wolf Comes at Night.”

“To see it in Los Angeles, in Hollywood, is just a dream come true, even if it is just a student film,” Marquez said. “But it’s a project that we worked really hard on.”