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News @ Minnesota State University Moorhead

Film d’Science: Science-Fiction meets Art Cinema in a Senior Film Project

Posted on April 15, 2013

Conor Holt to present at Tuesday’s SAC Conference

By Cameron Douglas

When it comes to the world of independent film making, inspiration must coexist with dedication. Nowhere is that more apparent than with filmmaker Conor Holt. The Roseville, Minn., native is a senior majoring in film studies with a double emphasis in film production, and film history and criticism, along with a minor in English.

Putting his love of filmmaking to work, he received a $1,500 grant from the Minnesota Film and TV Board in Minneapolis, which he used to cover the cost of making his short film, “A Better Life,” a science-fiction drama about a woman who cares for her comatose husband using a remote control.

When asked what the most difficult part about writing “A Better Life” was, Holt said, “Forcing myself to go back and back again. I’m usually the guy who writes one or two drafts and then I’m done, but this – I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to refine the dialogue before I started filming.”

Holt and his crew worked eight to 12 hours for four days, filming and setting up each scene. Creativity cannot be bought, but it can be inspired. Holt’s favorite author, Philip K. Dick, “focuses on characters, the internal struggle throughout the story,” Holt said. “I want to reflect that with my writing.”

Taking in the lessons he learned from reading various works by Dick, Holt had a goal in mind when he was writing “A Better Life.”

“With this film I sought to balance the genre conventions of science-fiction with the narrative and temporal style of art cinema,” Holt said. “The film features futuristic technology while moving back and forth between the past and present.”

Using money left over from making his short film, Holt will send “A Better Life” to other film festivals such as Sundance, Fantastic Festival and Short Fest. He hopes to get an internship, and after graduating, wants to be an independent filmmaker and writer.


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