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Thesis/Dissertation Seminars

Thesis Defense: Whatever Happened to Blackwater RD.?: A Visual Documentary Concerning Achievement in the Face of Failure

NSC 183
April 18, 2018 @ 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM

Announcing the Final Examination of Mr. Michael E. Stephenson for the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Emerging Media

Whatever Happened to Blackwater RD.? is a feature length documentary thesis film created and cultivated by Michael E. Stephenson to fulfill the requirements of the Master of Fine Arts degree in Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema while attending the University of Central Florida. Whatever happened to Blackwater RD.? has met these criteria of the School of Visual Arts and Design, in the College of Arts and Humanities, by being a feature length digital film with a budget no larger than $50,000.

This film is the efforts of the filmmaker to trace the failure of his narrative thesis film Blackwater RD. while attempting to discover where everything went wrong while trying to recover from such a crushing defeat. Assembled from behind the scene videos and interviews, this film represents a collected effort to discover a way to make digital cinema from multiple sources, ranging from digital cameras to smartphones, while still crafting a singular vision. Digital cinema allows for films to be made in a collage-like effort to explore how narrative can be manipulated and how a director may steer it, even in the documentary field.

Through the exploration of his own failings the filmmaker has discovered perhaps the most important lesson of both academia and film: failure is always an option. To fail is a life worthy experience that one should learn from and utilize in accomplishing future tasks.

Committee in Charge: Ula M. Stoeckl (Chair), Katherine Frances Shults, Barry Sandler