FIELDS gives STEM a sci-fi sheen

“Magnetic Fields” web series trailer from Swede Films on Vimeo.


Today, we resist the force that is C-U Confidential issue 10 for a few moments so that we can bring you a sneak peek from the upcoming Web series, MAGNETIC FIELDS, which seems to be wooing high school and college students with the wonders of scientific discovery. Neenah Williams, who played the troubled main character in the Pens to Lens 2018 entry STUCK, returns here as a teenager named Jana who needs to complete a class project while circumventing peer pressure, the success of her older sister Maria (Jessica Limardo) in physics studies, and the apparent vanishing of her father (Pete Barnett). It is clear from the compelling trailer that instructors will ignite her critical thinking while a nucleus of students are bound to complicate matters with their own decision making. All must learn something from the scenario, of course, because learning should be paramount in a project such as this. Asim Bakara, Dema Evans, Izzy Gonzales, and Sofie Skotenne costar as Jana’s classmates, Raffeal A. Sears appears as a contemporary to Maria, and Nathon Jones, Letisha Owens, and several other familiar faces from our film and theater subsets take on the supportive teacher roles. MAGNETIC FIELDS is written, directed, filmed, and edited by the ever-busy John Isberg of Swede Films and produced by Nadya Mason, a physics professor at the University of Illinois, with sponsorship from the National Science Foundation through the UI Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. Hints on social media indicate the four episodes will go live in May. Watch for them and share with the young people around you!

Science is a primary thread in this series while technology plays a major part in the modern media-making process. Therefore, we want you to know about the following opportunities for folks of various ages to gain a little experience and insight in that arena! Illinifest, the annual UI student film festival, is coordinated by students taking the appropriate class through the Media and Cinema Studies department at the College of Media. They will showcase the best submissions from their UI peers on Saturday, April 27, 5-8:30 p.m., in the theater of Gregory Hall on campus; admission will be free and the full program can be viewed on the Illinifest Web site. Elsewhere, Smile Politely reported last week about the “College for Kids” summer courses at Parkland College that includes two sessions of “Lights! Camera! Action!,” during which Chris Foster teaches about television-style production, and one session of the self-explanatory “Make Your Own Movie,” instructed by Rusty Clevenger. All three sessions have openings and are geared for the 8-to-11-year-old age bracket. Finally, Isberg himself has been hosting a monthly workshop at Shatterglass Studios for an older crowd that will meet again next Wednesday, May 1, according to a post at the Champaign Casting Call group on Facebook. We don’t know if one has to reserve a space to be included or can just show up on the correct day and time, so be courteous and write him at john [at] swedefilms [dot] com for information. As evidenced by the consistent look and controlled tone of the MAGNETIC FIELDS preview, Isberg has plenty of good knowledge to impart.

~ Jason Pankoke

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