The latest episode of Adroit Artist features UMF alumnus and filmmaker Cori Schneider.
Schneider discussed the process of making her 2021 short film, “The Mind’s Etude,” which is featured on the episode, with the host, Andre Cormier. They spoke about creating art and what makes it individual.
“Everything has already been done by now,” Schneider said. “We can always put our own twist on it and that’s what makes it unique, that’s what makes it ours.”
Adroit Artist is a MBTV pilot project that showcases artists and their process. On each episode, Cormier, also the Executive Director of MBTV, interviews a featured artist who shares their work, be it visual art, music, film or otherwise, and discusses how it was made. Cormier described the show as a “show-and-tell for grown-ups.”
“The Mind’s Etude,” originally written for a class, stars UMF professors Aaron Wyanski, Jeffrey Thomson, and Amy Neswald. It tells the tale of a piano player, played by Wyanski, preparing for a concert with his teacher, Thomson. Thanks to the pressure of performance, he begins to recall his physically and mentally abusive mother, played by Neswald, who haunts the background of the film. It depicts the pianist’s downward spiral of hallucinations until, in Schneider’s own words, “nothing seems real anymore.”
“The Mind’s Etude” was filmed in Nordica Auditorium, adding to the aura of eeriness in the film. Schneider told Cormier about how she took advantage of the natural echoes and creakiness of the old auditorium.
Wyanski, a music professor and talented pianist himself, plays a classical music piece throughout the film. As it progresses, the music gets faster and faster, contributing to the quality of unsettledness that Schneider was reaching for.
“I wanted essentially, your skin to crawl,” Schneider said. “I wanted it to be eerie and dark.”
“The Mind’s Etude” is the winner of the Pixel Hunter XI Video and Animation Festival. The festival is a UMF student collaboration that features student work on short animations, documentaries, and films. This year, Pixel Hunter XII is free and open to the public at Emery Community Arts Center on Monday April 17 at 7 p.m.. The festival honors and celebrates the work of student filmmakers, and will kick off Arts Week at UMF.
As a child, Schneider wanted to be an actress, although she left that dream behind as she grew up. During her gap year after high school, she found herself drawn to writing. She attended UMF originally for fiction writing. Once she met Amy Neswald, a Creative Writing professor, she was reminded of her passion for film and decided to try her hand at screenwriting. She quickly grew to love it, because it was a new twist on her childhood dream.
Schneider and Cormier discussed the importance of exploration before making major career decisions. In Schneider’s case , her willingness to explore led her to screenwriting, which turned out to be a perfect mix of her passions.
“You can’t be constantly living in the future, because you’re never going to be living in the moment,” Schneider said. “The moment is where all the art and the craft and the joy lives.”
Schneider is the host and creator of her own show on MBTV, Our Short Film Show. The show gives insight into the craft of short-filmmaking through discussions between Schneider and a filmmaker guest on meanings, symbolism, and behind-the-scenes aspects of the process. The show is currently on hiatus, although Schneider plans to film new episodes later this year.
Watch the premiere of Schneider’s episode of Adroit Artist tonight at 7pm tonight on MBTV and on-demand at mtbluetv.org.