Art Student Celeste Newcomb is a Campus Movie Fest Finalist for her Film "Boy’s Turn"

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Screenshot from Boy's Turn showing cast members Sean Brown, Noah Wilbur, Dylan McBrayer, and Tyler Anderson

Screenshot from "Boy's Turn," a documentary short film directed by third-year USF art student Celeste Newcomb.

USF art student Celeste Newcomb is a finalist for the Campus Movie Fest, a national competition that provides a platform for filmmakers to share their work and connect with one another.

After exhibiting at the Marshall Center Oval Theatre alongside 84 other USF entries, Newcomb’s documentary short film, Boy’s Turn, is one of four pieces moving on to the June 2019 national round of the competition.

The film examines fragile masculinity through the perspectives of six young men. While Newcomb has made video works on femininity before, Boy’s Turn marks her first video exploration into masculinity.

“I’ve always been interested in gender, specifically with femininity, in my films. I usually always just focused on that,” said Newcomb. “And just recently I was given the idea to switch it up and try focusing on masculinity, which was I think a good idea because it was going out of my comfort zone.”

Boy’s Turn begins with sweeping nighttime footage of the River Walk trail in downtown Tampa. The film’s cast introduces themselves. They are Newcomb’s friends Sean Brown, Tanner Hockert, Noah Wilbur, Adan Jackson, Dylan McBrayer, and Tyler Anderson. They range in age from 18 to 22.

Newcomb collaborated with McBrayer, who composed the film’s original soundtrack. Pulsating synthesizers and metallic wind chime sounds characterize the score that plays as the cast members engage in an open conversation on masculinity and gendered social norms.

Anderson opens the video with an illustration of the environment of hegemonic masculinity he grew up in.

“I’ve always been a part of a family for generations they said men don’t cry, they don’t do these girly things, they don’t wear makeup,” says Anderson. “You’re supposed to be a man.”

Jackson follows this with a suggestion to be more open and honest with the world. He says being a part of the world isn’t about hiding weakness, but rather, showing it.

“It’s not putting your guard up. It’s allowing people to see you for who you are,” says Jackson.

Throughout the conversation, Newcomb uses pink overlays and blue gel lights as a visual representation of gender. The stylistic choice is inspired by the video work of Julie Weitz, a Los Angeles-based artist and former USF painting professor who Newcomb discovered during the artist’s visit to USF in 2016.

After discovering Weitz’ work, Newcomb took a Video, Animation, & Digital Arts (VADA) course at USF. Excited by the possibilities of the medium, Newcomb made video her primary focus. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art with a concentration in video.

The program provides her with individualized guidance from Anat Pollack, associate professor of video, and Sean Cheatham, instructor of art and media.

“I’ve gotten really great relationships with both of them to really help me hone my practice,” said Newcomb. “It’s given me the confidence to submit to things like this.”

Boy’s Turn will screen at the national Campus Movie Fest event, CMF Terminus, June 27-30 in Atlanta.

Boy’s Turn is available online on the Campus Movie Fest website and YouTube.