Current 3rd Year LMU Film Production MFA student AMA (1 Viewer)

rohanam

New Member
hey,
What is your actual cost of attendance per year at grad school? And does LMU provide scholarships to international students?
Also, how are the internship opportunities at LMU?
 

A248

Member
hey,
What is your actual cost of attendance per year at grad school? And does LMU provide scholarships to international students?
Also, how are the internship opportunities at LMU?

It is hard to say for sure but it is roughly $25,000 per year for tuition. I've been fortunate enough to receive scholarships which have helped a lot. The School of Film and Television does give a scholarship that is available to international students as far as I'm aware. An internship is required to graduate from the program and there are MANY opportunities available because of our location LA and the faculty/staff in SFTV who are willing to help guide you to opportunities.
 

A248

Member
What was your portfolio and CV like before applying

When I applied to LMU I had been running my own production company for four years. I had been making films for about 7 years and had numerous projects screen at festivals, win awards, etc. However, some of my classmates came to LMU with no experience in film whatsoever so don't let expereience, or lack of dictate your decision to apply. I think the department likes a mix of experience/potential and people from a variety of professional/academic backgrounds.
 

Ayoxo

Member
When I applied to LMU I had been running my own production company for four years. I had been making films for about 7 years and had numerous projects screen at festivals, win awards, etc. However, some of my classmates came to LMU with no experience in film whatsoever so don't let expereience, or lack of dictate your decision to apply. I think the department likes a mix of experience/potential and people from a variety of professional/academic backgrounds.
Thanks. So what's the program like? Are they teaching you in all areas of filmmaking or do you choose whether it's directing, screenwriting etc you want
 

A248

Member
Thanks. So what's the program like? Are they teaching you in all areas of filmmaking or do you choose whether it's directing, screenwriting etc you want

Yes, the program is very well-rounded. The first year and a half is structured, so there is a progression of courses everyone takes. Year one you make a short fiction film in the spring, year two you make either a fiction or non fiction film in the fall, and year three is a thesis fiction or non fiction film. Mixed in with classes for pre-pro, production, and post for your films are some film history courses and the rest are electives. So you can really focus on whatever you want. I have taken a solid mix of screenwriting, sound, and directing/camera based classes. I am a documentary filmmaker so my second and third year films are docs and I take doc-specific classes for those.
 

Ayoxo

Member
Yes, the program is very well-rounded. The first year and a half is structured, so there is a progression of courses everyone takes. Year one you make a short fiction film in the spring, year two you make either a fiction or non fiction film in the fall, and year three is a thesis fiction or non fiction film. Mixed in with classes for pre-pro, production, and post for your films are some film history courses and the rest are electives. So you can really focus on whatever you want. I have taken a solid mix of screenwriting, sound, and directing/camera based classes. I am a documentary filmmaker so my second and third year films are docs and I take doc-specific classes for those.
Sounds nice. Just to clarify, you said each year you make a film, do you get to choose the role you play in making that film (whether director, screenwriter etc)
 

A248

Member
If you choose to do the fiction/non-fiction specialization you write/direct your three films. Last year, LMU introduced additional specializations for students who don't want to write and direct. They include creative production, cinematography, and editing. However, all students are still required to write/direct a first year film basically as an introductory experience to filmmaking/being on set. You can find more info here: Production Specializations - Loyola Marymount University
 

Ayoxo

Member
If you choose to do the fiction/non-fiction specialization you write/direct your three films. Last year, LMU introduced additional specializations for students who don't want to write and direct. They include creative production, cinematography, and editing. However, all students are still required to write/direct a first year film basically as an introductory experience to filmmaking/being on set. You can find more info here: Production Specializations - Loyola Marymount University
Thanks for the info
 

BuddernScotch

Well-Known Member
Hey!

I'm wondering what it's like to go into the program with experience professionally doing what you're learning in filmschool! Do you still find yourself learning a lot of new things, or is it mostly the other courses like cinematography and writing that help round out your skills?

Thanks for doing this!
 

A248

Member
Hey!

I'm wondering what it's like to go into the program with experience professionally doing what you're learning in filmschool! Do you still find yourself learning a lot of new things, or is it mostly the other courses like cinematography and writing that help round out your skills?

Thanks for doing this!

One thing that I think is great about film school (at least LMU) is that it teaches you a lot of skills that transcend filmmaking. Collaboration, working under deadlines, working with limited resources, teamwork, resilience...those are all things that my time at LMU has reinforced. Back to your question - yes I did have quite a bit of experience before I came to LMU, but I had never been trained to make films in a school setting. My undergrad degree is in communications, so most of what I learned was pretty broad. LMU has given me the chance to hone in on my filmmaking skills and focus on each aspect that the different classes offer. I feel I have learned a lot over the past two years, and it never hurts to brush up on the fundamentals!
 

tls

Well-Known Member
@A248 Hey there! I've just been admitted for Film & TV Production! I really have a good feeling about LMU but am fortunate enough to have a few options and am just trying to get as much info as I can to help make my decision.

A few Qs:

1) Have you found that LMU makes an effort to provide opportunities to make attending more affordable? (Work study, TA, second and third year scholarships, etc).

2) How does access to equipment work? I see they have an amazing stock of great gear, but I've heard that some schools hide the good stuff away for thesis films only (which I get, just want to know what the deal is). I guess in general, I see LMU has amazing facilities, but I wonder if access is tied up in a bunch of red tape or if it's really readily available for student use.

3) I think it's awesome that LMU builds time for internships into the curriculum and not just the summer. Have you had any internships during your time there, and how helpful was the school in connecting you with that opportunity?

4) Okay, campus is ***by the beach***?! Which is awesome, but the surrounding rent prices make me cringe. Do students tend to live super close to campus or farther away for the price break?

5) Do the professors commonly work in the industry currently while teaching? Are they accessible and do they seem invested in students?

6) Does LMU's Jesuit-ness have a lot to do with the program?

7) Finally - I see campus is pretty close to the airport - does the sound mess with your shoots at all? lol

Thank you and I hope I'm not too late in asking! :D
 

A248

Member
Hi tls,
I am going to respond to your questions based from my experience during non-COVID times, since LMU is saying they plan to be "mostly back to normal" by Fall 2021.

1) Have you found that LMU makes an effort to provide opportunities to make attending more affordable? (Work study, TA, second and third year scholarships, etc).

I have been a TA every semester since the Spring of my first year. There are plenty of opportunities as long as you do the legwork in making it known that you are interested. There are also on campus jobs and scholarships offered by the school and SFTV (as long as you maintain your grades). In my experience, the scholarship amounts increased quite a lot after the first year. I can't speak on work study, but I know it exists.

2) How does access to equipment work? I see they have an amazing stock of great gear, but I've heard that some schools hide the good stuff away for thesis films only (which I get, just want to know what the deal is). I guess in general, I see LMU has amazing facilities, but I wonder if access is tied up in a bunch of red tape or if it's really readily available for student use.

Facilities are available (especially at our Playa Vista campus) and can usually be used as long as you schedule in advance and assuming that there is no class that needs it (this includes studio and post production space). Equipment access is based on the class you are in and a lottery system. Shoots are almost always done on the weekends, and the lottery takes place the Thursday of the week before. For the first year film, everyone uses the exact same camera and sound package. After that, you can try for whatever camera and equipment you want. But it's also good to remember that it's the story, not the camera, that makes a film...so I never lost sleep over stressing about cameras. I am a documentary student and have mostly used my own Canon C100.

3) I think it's awesome that LMU builds time for internships into the curriculum and not just the summer. Have you had any internships during your time there, and how helpful was the school in connecting you with that opportunity?

I interned at a documentary production company the summer after my first year. It was a really positive expderience, especially since I am a documentary student/filmmaker. I have some classmates who have done an internship almost every semester just to build their resume and to try to "break in" to the industry. Since this is LA, there are almost endless opportunities available if you want them.

4) Okay, campus is ***by the beach***?! Which is awesome, but the surrounding rent prices make me cringe. Do students tend to live super close to campus or farther away for the price break?

Again, it's LA, so there is no such thing as a price break unless your standards for a place to live are very low. I live pretty far from campus (not by the beach) and pay just as much or more as many of my classmates near campus. Unfortunately, everything here is expensive and there is no real way to escape it. Your best bet for lower cost to have roommates.

5) Do the professors commonly work in the industry currently while teaching? Are they accessible and do they seem invested in students?

Yes, many of the professors are active filmmakers or work in the industry to some extent (or did before coming to LMU if they are post-career). Overall, my experience with the professors has been mostly positive and I have had no problem forming mentor-like relationships with them outside of the classroom. They also will sometimes invite students to work on their sets if they are in production on something.


6) Does LMU's Jesuit-ness have a lot to do with the program?

No, you would have no idea it's a Jesuit university until you see the beautiful campus church. There are a couple of priest professors (who are filmmakers) and my experience with them has been very positive. There is no censorship of our work.

7) Finally - I see campus is pretty close to the airport - does the sound mess with your shoots at all?

With any outdoor location, sound is going to be a problem at times, but I've never had a bad experience because of airplanes beyond just having to hold for a minute or two. Most of the on campus filming is done in the studio and many students shoot their films all around SoCal. Keep in mind also that the grad campus is in Playa Vista, not the main LMU campus...however you will still go to main campus quite often for a few classes/food/work/equipment/etc. They offer a free shuttle between the two campuses.

Hope this helps. Happy to chat futher if you message me.
 

tls

Well-Known Member
Hi tls,
I am going to respond to your questions based from my experience during non-COVID times, since LMU is saying they plan to be "mostly back to normal" by Fall 2021.

1) Have you found that LMU makes an effort to provide opportunities to make attending more affordable? (Work study, TA, second and third year scholarships, etc).

I have been a TA every semester since the Spring of my first year. There are plenty of opportunities as long as you do the legwork in making it known that you are interested. There are also on campus jobs and scholarships offered by the school and SFTV (as long as you maintain your grades). In my experience, the scholarship amounts increased quite a lot after the first year. I can't speak on work study, but I know it exists.

2) How does access to equipment work? I see they have an amazing stock of great gear, but I've heard that some schools hide the good stuff away for thesis films only (which I get, just want to know what the deal is). I guess in general, I see LMU has amazing facilities, but I wonder if access is tied up in a bunch of red tape or if it's really readily available for student use.

Facilities are available (especially at our Playa Vista campus) and can usually be used as long as you schedule in advance and assuming that there is no class that needs it (this includes studio and post production space). Equipment access is based on the class you are in and a lottery system. Shoots are almost always done on the weekends, and the lottery takes place the Thursday of the week before. For the first year film, everyone uses the exact same camera and sound package. After that, you can try for whatever camera and equipment you want. But it's also good to remember that it's the story, not the camera, that makes a film...so I never lost sleep over stressing about cameras. I am a documentary student and have mostly used my own Canon C100.

3) I think it's awesome that LMU builds time for internships into the curriculum and not just the summer. Have you had any internships during your time there, and how helpful was the school in connecting you with that opportunity?

I interned at a documentary production company the summer after my first year. It was a really positive expderience, especially since I am a documentary student/filmmaker. I have some classmates who have done an internship almost every semester just to build their resume and to try to "break in" to the industry. Since this is LA, there are almost endless opportunities available if you want them.

4) Okay, campus is ***by the beach***?! Which is awesome, but the surrounding rent prices make me cringe. Do students tend to live super close to campus or farther away for the price break?

Again, it's LA, so there is no such thing as a price break unless your standards for a place to live are very low. I live pretty far from campus (not by the beach) and pay just as much or more as many of my classmates near campus. Unfortunately, everything here is expensive and there is no real way to escape it. Your best bet for lower cost to have roommates.

5) Do the professors commonly work in the industry currently while teaching? Are they accessible and do they seem invested in students?

Yes, many of the professors are active filmmakers or work in the industry to some extent (or did before coming to LMU if they are post-career). Overall, my experience with the professors has been mostly positive and I have had no problem forming mentor-like relationships with them outside of the classroom. They also will sometimes invite students to work on their sets if they are in production on something.

6) Does LMU's Jesuit-ness have a lot to do with the program?

No, you would have no idea it's a Jesuit university until you see the beautiful campus church. There are a couple of priest professors (who are filmmakers) and my experience with them has been very positive. There is no censorship of our work.

7) Finally - I see campus is pretty close to the airport - does the sound mess with your shoots at all?

With any outdoor location, sound is going to be a problem at times, but I've never had a bad experience because of airplanes beyond just having to hold for a minute or two. Most of the on campus filming is done in the studio and many students shoot their films all around SoCal. Keep in mind also that the grad campus is in Playa Vista, not the main LMU campus...however you will still go to main campus quite often for a few classes/food/work/equipment/etc. They offer a free shuttle between the two campuses.

Hope this helps. Happy to chat futher if you message me.
Thank you very, very much. SO helpful!!!
 
Hi tls,
I am going to respond to your questions based from my experience during non-COVID times, since LMU is saying they plan to be "mostly back to normal" by Fall 2021.

1) Have you found that LMU makes an effort to provide opportunities to make attending more affordable? (Work study, TA, second and third year scholarships, etc).

I have been a TA every semester since the Spring of my first year. There are plenty of opportunities as long as you do the legwork in making it known that you are interested. There are also on campus jobs and scholarships offered by the school and SFTV (as long as you maintain your grades). In my experience, the scholarship amounts increased quite a lot after the first year. I can't speak on work study, but I know it exists.

2) How does access to equipment work? I see they have an amazing stock of great gear, but I've heard that some schools hide the good stuff away for thesis films only (which I get, just want to know what the deal is). I guess in general, I see LMU has amazing facilities, but I wonder if access is tied up in a bunch of red tape or if it's really readily available for student use.

Facilities are available (especially at our Playa Vista campus) and can usually be used as long as you schedule in advance and assuming that there is no class that needs it (this includes studio and post production space). Equipment access is based on the class you are in and a lottery system. Shoots are almost always done on the weekends, and the lottery takes place the Thursday of the week before. For the first year film, everyone uses the exact same camera and sound package. After that, you can try for whatever camera and equipment you want. But it's also good to remember that it's the story, not the camera, that makes a film...so I never lost sleep over stressing about cameras. I am a documentary student and have mostly used my own Canon C100.

3) I think it's awesome that LMU builds time for internships into the curriculum and not just the summer. Have you had any internships during your time there, and how helpful was the school in connecting you with that opportunity?

I interned at a documentary production company the summer after my first year. It was a really positive expderience, especially since I am a documentary student/filmmaker. I have some classmates who have done an internship almost every semester just to build their resume and to try to "break in" to the industry. Since this is LA, there are almost endless opportunities available if you want them.

4) Okay, campus is ***by the beach***?! Which is awesome, but the surrounding rent prices make me cringe. Do students tend to live super close to campus or farther away for the price break?

Again, it's LA, so there is no such thing as a price break unless your standards for a place to live are very low. I live pretty far from campus (not by the beach) and pay just as much or more as many of my classmates near campus. Unfortunately, everything here is expensive and there is no real way to escape it. Your best bet for lower cost to have roommates.

5) Do the professors commonly work in the industry currently while teaching? Are they accessible and do they seem invested in students?

Yes, many of the professors are active filmmakers or work in the industry to some extent (or did before coming to LMU if they are post-career). Overall, my experience with the professors has been mostly positive and I have had no problem forming mentor-like relationships with them outside of the classroom. They also will sometimes invite students to work on their sets if they are in production on something.

6) Does LMU's Jesuit-ness have a lot to do with the program?

No, you would have no idea it's a Jesuit university until you see the beautiful campus church. There are a couple of priest professors (who are filmmakers) and my experience with them has been very positive. There is no censorship of our work.

7) Finally - I see campus is pretty close to the airport - does the sound mess with your shoots at all?

With any outdoor location, sound is going to be a problem at times, but I've never had a bad experience because of airplanes beyond just having to hold for a minute or two. Most of the on campus filming is done in the studio and many students shoot their films all around SoCal. Keep in mind also that the grad campus is in Playa Vista, not the main LMU campus...however you will still go to main campus quite often for a few classes/food/work/equipment/etc. They offer a free shuttle between the two campuses.

Hope this helps. Happy to chat futher if you message me.
This is SO very helpful!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and @tls for asking the important questions! I can't explain how excited I am to enter this fall (I just committed to the Film & TV Production MFA) and meet everyone soon 🤪
 

jonvaljon69

Member
Supporter+
@A248 So ridiculously helpful! I'm stoked I've been admitted to the Screenwriting MFA program and I have some follow-up questions for ya, if you wouldn't mind. You can make your answers quick :)
  • Filmmaking Costs & Ownership
    • Do students pay to rent the school's equipment out of pocket, or to rent space to film at school? If so, what is the ballpark for those costs? Do a lot of students use their own stuff, like you do with your C100?
    • How do you find acting talent? I know it's LA, so it should be ubiquitous. Do you find actors at LMU? Or local to the area? Or do y'all just act in each other's films?
    • You mentioned everyone makes a film each year - does this include screenwriters? For example, would I be directing my own films just like other students in production? I would be excited to do this - just curious.
    • Who owns your films when you graduate?
  • TA and Assistantships (ie, paying for school)
    • How much do these offset the cost of school?
    • Is there a place I can hunt around for opportunities now online?
    • What is the level of effort and time commitment?
    • Is it common for students to have part-time or full-time jobs?
  • Internships
    • Have you seen these turn into real paying opportunities?
  • Free Time
    • I noticed all the classes are in the afternoon / evening. Since production happens on the weekends - what do people do all day during the week? Homework? Collaborate? Internships? Eat tacos?
I'm lugging my crazy supportive wife and two kiddos across country for this, so I'm trying to be as informed as possible. Thanks! My family thanks you!
 

A248

Member
@A248 So ridiculously helpful! I'm stoked I've been admitted to the Screenwriting MFA program and I have some follow-up questions for ya, if you wouldn't mind. You can make your answers quick :)
  • Filmmaking Costs & Ownership
    • Do students pay to rent the school's equipment out of pocket, or to rent space to film at school? If so, what is the ballpark for those costs? Do a lot of students use their own stuff, like you do with your C100?
No, these costs are part of your tuition/fees. If you want to rent equipment/props/locations outside of LMU, that is out of your own pocket. You will always have additional costs when making a film...even just food to feed your crew. But keep in mind I am production and you are screenwriting - so this isn't nearly as much a part of your program as it is for mine.

    • How do you find acting talent? I know it's LA, so it should be ubiquitous. Do you find actors at LMU? Or local to the area? Or do y'all just act in each other's films?
There are plenty of acting students available. You can also use websites like Backstage (my site of choice) to find talent. Would not recommend using your classmates unless they actually have acting ability.
    • You mentioned everyone makes a film each year - does this include screenwriters? For example, would I be directing my own films just like other students in production? I would be excited to do this - just curious.
As far as I know, screenwriters have a production class their first year and I think that's it. You will spend most of your time writing.
    • Who owns your films when you graduate?
Students own all rights to our films. This is why I liked LMU over a place like USC.
  • TA and Assistantships (ie, paying for school)
    • How much do these offset the cost of school?
    • Is there a place I can hunt around for opportunities now online?
    • What is the level of effort and time commitment?
    • Is it common for students to have part-time or full-time jobs?
TAships are usually around $15/hour. For me it was gas money. I did it for the experience, not the pay. Scholarships are the best way to reduce overall cost if you are able to get them. I found my TA opportunities by speaking with professors and expressing interest. Usually first semester first year students don't come into the school with a TAship already...I didn't get mine until the second semester. But you can ask your LMU faculty/staff contact about this.

Level of commitment is based around your own interest and the needs of whatever class you are working in. Mine "biggest" TAship was about 14 hours of work a week. As with everything, the effort you put in will reflect what you get from the experience.

Many students have part-time jobs outside of TA-ships both on and off campus. When we are in person, it is really not possible to have a full time job unless you require no sleep.

  • Internships
    • Have you seen these turn into real paying opportunities?
Yes, I know some of my classmates have gotten great opportunities/connections from their internships. Plenty of opportunities in LA.
  • Free Time
    • I noticed all the classes are in the afternoon / evening. Since production happens on the weekends - what do people do all day during the week? Homework? Collaborate? Internships? Eat tacos?
I'm lugging my crazy supportive wife and two kiddos across country for this, so I'm trying to be as informed as possible. Thanks! My family thanks you!
Interesting because my classes have always been every time of day....from 9am all the way until 10pm sometimes. This schedule might reflect COVID times and could change once LMU returns to in person. I have spent the last three years being incredibly busy during each semester. Of course, it's important to try to find some work/life balance...but I am working on school-related projects 7 days a week most of the time (with breaks, of course). LMU Film School is not a "part-time night school for working professionals" sort of thing...it's an intense, rigoruous program that will require three years of hard work and dedication. But it's worth it, in my opinion.
 

jonvaljon69

Member
Supporter+
No, these costs are part of your tuition/fees. If you want to rent equipment/props/locations outside of LMU, that is out of your own pocket. You will always have additional costs when making a film...even just food to feed your crew. But keep in mind I am production and you are screenwriting - so this isn't nearly as much a part of your program as it is for mine.

There are plenty of acting students available. You can also use websites like Backstage (my site of choice) to find talent. Would not recommend using your classmates unless they actually have acting ability.

As far as I know, screenwriters have a production class their first year and I think that's it. You will spend most of your time writing.

Students own all rights to our films. This is why I liked LMU over a place like USC.

TAships are usually around $15/hour. For me it was gas money. I did it for the experience, not the pay. Scholarships are the best way to reduce overall cost if you are able to get them. I found my TA opportunities by speaking with professors and expressing interest. Usually first semester first year students don't come into the school with a TAship already...I didn't get mine until the second semester. But you can ask your LMU faculty/staff contact about this.

Level of commitment is based around your own interest and the needs of whatever class you are working in. Mine "biggest" TAship was about 14 hours of work a week. As with everything, the effort you put in will reflect what you get from the experience.

Many students have part-time jobs outside of TA-ships both on and off campus. When we are in person, it is really not possible to have a full time job unless you require no sleep.

Yes, I know some of my classmates have gotten great opportunities/connections from their internships. Plenty of opportunities in LA.

Interesting because my classes have always been every time of day....from 9am all the way until 10pm sometimes. This schedule might reflect COVID times and could change once LMU returns to in person. I have spent the last three years being incredibly busy during each semester. Of course, it's important to try to find some work/life balance...but I am working on school-related projects 7 days a week most of the time (with breaks, of course). LMU Film School is not a "part-time night school for working professionals" sort of thing...it's an intense, rigoruous program that will require three years of hard work and dedication. But it's worth it, in my opinion.

Thanks so much!

About the course schedule, it's very possible I did it wrong. I went to this schedule of classes: (Schedule of Classes - Loyola Marymount University) and looked at the required screenwriting courses (Required Courses - Loyola Marymount University). It seemed like they were all after 1pm.
 
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A248
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In the midst of a global pandemic, a very paranoid vampire orders contactless food delivery.
Film Program
Loyola Marymount University
Course
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Film Type
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Genre
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Duration/Running Time
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Film Completion
Aug 1, 2020
A248
Views
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An artist invites an especially harsh critic to her studio for an exclusive preview of her latest work.
Film Program
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Course
PROD 550
Film Type
Assignment
Genre
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Duration/Running Time
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Film Completion
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Views
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An exploration of the history and modern day importance of postcards.
Film Program
Loyola Marymount University
Course
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Film Type
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Genre
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Duration/Running Time
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Film Completion
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