Is Life Ruled by the Electronics you own – or do They own you?

In this digital age of tablets and super computers, do we own our electronics, or do they own us?

Senior James Koth explores this question in a short film, “The Towers,” which he made during spring semester to complete his film minor. Koth wrote, directed, and edited the film with the help of James Snapko, instructor of theater and film in the English Department.

“The Towers” follows the perspective of a young man, Jeremy, as he attempts to break free from the ubiquity of technology; unfortunately, Jeremy's best friend and girlfriend have succumbed to the powerful grasp of social media and data information. As his day progresses, Jeremy sees his iPhone, Siri, becoming personified. Siri manages to isolate Jeremy, leaving a mad dash through a forest as Jeremy's only chance to escape.

The film was shown to the Communication and Citizenship class and had a public premiere on campus during spring semester. It will be used as an example piece this summer during Snapko's filmmaking course. Koth also plans to enter his film in various festivals over the next few months.

“The project was an excellent exercise in creativity and film production,” Koth remarked. He recently posted the film on YouTube. (View the film below.) The film received more than 400 views in less than 48 hours after posting, and the views are now approaching the 1,000 mark.

“The Towers” stars St. Thomas students Perry Chicos and Rita Kovtun. The rest of the cast was assembled from other ACTC schools and nearby universities. The actors include Alex Hapka, Emily Muyskens, Avi Aharoni and Gabrielle Arrowsmith.

The film was scored by John Del Vecchio and seven students from his History of the Music Industry and Music Careers class. The seven are Elan Lozano, Bo Bodnar, Luke Darger, Ben Pierce, Ben Valle, Aaron Yasgar and Jessica Soderbeck. They comprise the group 360 Seven, which recently released a CD of their music.

“One of my overarching goals for this project was to show UST that one student can achieve an artistic vision through the art of film,” Koth said. “Snapko got the green light for this summer course and hopefully it can breathe new life into a UST film chapter that was cut years ago.”

"I was an accounting major and on the football team, but I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to use this creative outlet in both a learning and recreational fashion. I crossed through many departments and met with many media specialists, faculty – Tim Scully in particular – and students,” Koth added. “It was wonderful to glean different ideas, perspectives and creative talents from these individuals. UST is missing out by not having more film opportunities on campus.”

Koth wants to deeply thank Snapko, his actors, musicians, and assistant directors Katherine Curtis and Kyle Balstad. He will attend UST's Master of Science in Accountancy program this summer and then plans to attend film school in 2014.