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Around the Columns

Midwestern movie-makers

student filmakers

Patrick Bauer, BA ’10, left, shoots an MU student recruitment video, while Jay Johnson, third-year law student, center, directs. They, along with John Shealy, senior psychology major, have helped foster the student filmmaking culture at Mizzou. Christie Puricelli, in gold shirt, and Camila Gumati are shown at right. Photo by Rob Hill

Before 8 a.m. on a random Wednesday, students on the Carnahan Quadrangle practice their dance moves — the Running Man, the Robot and “raisin’ the roof.” It’s already an odd scene, but then Patrick Bauer slowly pulls up in a golf cart. In it, he’s placed a video camera and tripod, turning the cart into a makeshift camera dolly.

“We tried filming in a wheelchair yesterday,” says Bauer, BA ’10. “Compared to that, this is so smooth.”

Directing this student recruitment promo is Lenworth “Jay” Johnson, BS BA ’08, a third-year law student. A year ago, he and Bauer started filming Student Life videos and formed an independent production company, PB & Jay Entertainment. The pair, who attended rival Columbia high schools, had long been interested in filmmaking but thought it was unrealistic for students living in the hills of Columbia, rather than Hollywood.

Johnson had rejected offers to study biology at some of California’s most elite universities. After realizing film was his passion, he began questioning that decision. Instead of fleeing his home state, he joined efforts to change the campus mindset about Midwestern movie-making. As freshmen, he and Bauer became founding members of the Mizzou Students for Film campaign for a film studies major, which became official in February 2010. Johnson also worked with John Shealy, a senior psychology major from Kansas City, Mo., in 2008 to start the Silverscreen Film Festival, now open to all Missouri college students.

“The beauty of what’s going on right now on campus and with cheaper equipment is that it’s throwing away any handicaps that made me unsure my freshman year,” says Johnson, who has interned for Will Smith’s production company and hopes to work in entertainment law, talent management or film production. He’s now a campus film coordinator for Student Life, which has hired seven student videographers to help enhance its website, mizzoulife Although Johnson, Bauer and Shealy have unrelated majors, they plan to continue working together and toward film careers.

“The Midwest is kind of an untapped market,” Bauer says. “The film communities in New York and LA are great, but we didn’t want to just be the umpteenth person in line for positions.”

Watch their Admissions video, “Your prescription for success."