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MFA Candidate Producing a Puppet Passion Project

CA+S MFA Candidate Conor O'Farrell is collaborating with Chicago native and MFA Candidate Sehaj Sethi from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU to produce her thesis film featuring a cast of rod puppets. Currently in the fundraising phase, learn more about Dark and Light Leo on Kickstarter.

Film is a collaborative medium. In a recent Screen Magazine article, CA+S faculty member Karen Loop states that Columbia College’s Creative Producing MFA program that is in its third year is built on two basic tenets: good story will always be paramount and collaboration is a necessity.

Chicago native Sethi is bringing her thesis film, Dark and Light Leo,
back home and teaming up with O’Farrell who will produce. "This is something I didn't want to pass up because of the unique story and the opportunity to work with someone from a another MFA program," recounts O'Farrell.

Dark and Light Leo is a gothic story about a young boy dealing with the tragic loss of his father and the consequences of another man trying to take his place. It is a fantastical story that falls somewhere between the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe and the films of Vincent Price. "This is an homage to older horror, but with an emphasis on Leo’s ability to manipulate the world around him that's a nod to something more magical," shares writer and director Sethi.

Filming will take place at William B. Fosser’s Puppet Production Opera in Focus theater. First performed in Chicago in 1957, Fosser’s award-winning rod-puppet productions present scenes from opera, motion picture, and Broadway musicals. The theater celebrates twenty years at its Rolling Meadows location when Dark and Light Leo takes to the main stage in December.

"Ever since I moved from Ireland to Chicago for graduate school in 2012, Columbia College has instilled a firm sense of collaboration. This project is pushing the boundaries and will pave the way for future projects," conveys O’Farrell.  "In past films, I've collaborated with cast and crew from Columbia College and the Chicagoland community, but now this project is somewhat of a game changer because it opens doors and connects the worlds of opera, theater, and New York filmmakers," adds O’Farrell.