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Pavon ’25 depicts Houston in the dark in “Noche”

October 28, 2022

The walls of Smith Auditorium faded away as the short film “Noche’’ by Miguel Pavon ’25 flooded the screen. From the first few moments, the audience was immersed in atmospheric twilight shots as they drifted through scenes of Houston nightlife. The screening, which was hosted by the Bowdoin Film Society, took place last Friday night.

“Noche” was the only student-made film shown over the course of Bowdoin Film Society’s October Screenings series. Club Leader Reed Warburton ’23 particularly enjoyed Pavon’s style, which he describes as distinctly confident.

“There’s a quote from John Renoir who says that every director makes just one movie over their lifetime,” Warburton said. “They just keep breaking it up and remaking it; so this is a piece of what Miguel has to offer. I’m very excited. I hope it is indicative of what he’s going to do.

The production of the film was a one-man show. Over just two and a half weeks, Pavon wrote the script, created the storyboard and made the shot list, among other responsibilities.

Music is essential to Pavon’s creative process.

“I choose a song first,” Pavon said. “Then from the song I’m able to visualize, ‘Okay, this is what I’m going to shoot, this is what’s going to be in.’”

“The film’s nocturnal voyage unravels to the ambient beat of “Feels/ Dancing in the Dark (Reprise)” by Wet Baes. Pavon had the song swirling around his mind for a while but hadn’t had the opportunity to create its video counterpart until he signed up for a New York University (NYU) online program during the summer. During the course, Pavon not only created “Noche,” but was also introduced to the intricate details of the film production industry which fueled his desire to continue down that path.

Pavon describes his filmmaking style as being heavy on cuts; his montage-like style lends itself particularly well to music videos.

“I really do like … being able to just condense a large amount of content into something very short but effective,” Pavon said.

In creating “Noche,” Pavon was inspired by night-time scenes he had observed first-hand or through movies. In the end product, shooting in the dark produced a feast for the eyes, but it came with its own set of technical challenges. Pavon needed to find a balance between the contrast required for dark shots and the sharpness that was lost through this editing process.

“You need a budget for lighting to be able to buy certain lights and certain setups,” Pavon said. “I did not have any budget at all.… My budget for that film was the gas that I paid for the car, so lighting was a very big obstacle.”

An obstacle that Pavon overcame, according to the film’s viewers.

“It was very beautifully shot, I love the colours … The music was very cinematic,” audience member Erica Erdenesanaa ’25 said.

Looking beyond the realm of Smith Auditorium, Pavon has sent “Noche’’ to a film festival based in Houston and intends to submit it to more festivals.

Pavon wants students to know that they are also capable of doing such a feat and imparted a few words of wisdom to students interested in film production.

“I know it sounds cheesy—don’t give up on your project,” Pavon said. “My advice would be to stick to your project and find alternatives … You will make something as long as you stick to it.


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