Rice alum returning to Media Center to screen 2 short films

Q&A session to follow with director Daniel Stuyck April 4

Rice University didn’t even offer a film degree when Daniel Stuyck graduated in 2005. But that didn’t stop Stuyck, now based in Austin, from becoming a filmmaker and a sought-after colorist. And on April 4, the alumnus is coming back to screen two of his newest films — “The Eternal” and “Envy” — at the Rice Media Center.

In the years since he worked as a projectionist at the Media Center, Stuyck has kept in touch with Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) professors Tish Stringer, Charles Dove and Brian Huberman. Their former student is now a frequent collaborator, whom Stringer and Dove asked to return for his first screening at his alma mater.

Director Daniel Stuyck describes as "The Eternal" as “a krautrock ghost story where a phantom transmission implores the help of an occult-savvy delivery driver.”

Director Daniel Stuyck describes as “The Eternal” as “a krautrock ghost story where a phantom transmission implores the help of an occult-savvy delivery driver.”

The Eternal” premiered at Austin’s Fantastic Fest in 2017. It’s a 15-minute film, shot in high-contrast black-and-white, that Stuyck describes as “a krautrock ghost story where a phantom transmission implores the help of an occult-savvy delivery driver.” No spoilers here, but suffice to say the ending provides fertile ground for further discussion.

The second film Stuyck will screen, “Envy,” is a four-minute short from 2015 that strobes across the screen in faster, ever more insistent bursts of saturated color. In terms of both visual aesthetic and plot, the two films couldn’t be more divergent — which, Stuyck said, should make for a stimulating Q&A session after the screening.

“It’s always interesting hearing what people have to say,” Stuyck said from his office in Austin this week. “I think it should be fun.”

Stuyck stuck around Austin after graduating with his master’s degree from the University of Texas film school in the Moody College of Communication, teaching editing as a lecturer before starting his own color and title firm.

“I’m interested to see how Rice students’ questions will be different from a more traditional film school audience,” he said.

Stuyck double-majored in art history and Spanish during his undergraduate years.

Stuyck's four-minute short

Stuyck’s four-minute short “Envy” will also be screened April 4 at the Rice Media Center.

It’s precisely Rice’s non-traditional stance, in which many VADA students are double-majors in chemistry or engineering, that Stuyck said can make for out-of-the-box approaches to filmmaking. And he credits the VADA faculty for helping him do that when he was an art history student with a keen interest in movies.

“One thing that is cool about Rice in terms of the people at the Media Center is that I got a ton of resources to be able to figure things out on my own and follow my own interests and develop that way, which I think is not a bad thing,” Stuyck said.

After all, he said, there’s no right path into filmmaking.

“What works for one person doesn’t work for someone else,” he said.

And while he’s excited to return to the Media Center, there’s definitely one thing you won’t catch Stuyck doing April 4: working up in his old haunt, the projection booth.

“I have enough respect to know that when I was a wee young lad in that position I would not want a filmmaker coming in and messing with my crap,” he laughed. “I respect them.”

Director Daniel Stuyck screens “The Eternal” and “Envy” at 7 p.m. April 4 at the Rice Media Center. This event is free and open to the public. For more information visit //events.rice.edu/#!view/event/date/20190404/event_id/35194.

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.