Creativity, collaboration among colleagues supports film’s debut at major festival this weekend

Woman sitting on a bench

Media X professor Kevin Pontuti’s first feature-length film The Yellow Wallpaper will debut at Cinequest Film Festival

When Media X program director Kevin Pontuti’s first feature-length film debuts at a major festival this weekend, the credits will include many of his colleagues who were instrumental in its creation.

It wasn’t planned that way, but Pontuti said being surrounded by talented coworkers was a great benefit. "Creating a film is an incredible experience that requires a huge amount of work," reflected Pontuti. "This project was very much a collaboration. None of this would have been possible without the support we have received."

Pontuti's film, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” is an adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1892 short fiction based on the collection of the journal entries of “Jane,” a writer and young mother who becomes obsessed with the peculiar yellow wallpaper in a bedroom she inhabits while on prescribed bedrest. In her isolation, she secretly writes about a woman trapped in the wallpaper that she must free.

Pontuti and his wife Alexandra Loreth wrote and produced the adaptation, and Loreth plays the lead while Pontuti directs.

Pacific English Professor Courtney Lehman consulted on the story and screenplay. “'The Yellow Wallpaper' is a landmark in feminist fiction that seeks to represent female mental illness not as a psychiatric condition so much as a social condition—one that imprisons women by pathologizing their expressions of the intersection between creativity, pain, and trauma."

Macelle Mahala, Humanities Center director, assisted with script development. "What I love about Kevin’s films is the careful construction of the visual imagery," said Mahala. "I like how this film leaves things open to interpretation and lets the viewers construct some of the meaning of the story for themselves."

Theater arts professor Cathie McClellan served as costume designer, creating a design book to depict each costume and fabricating three special nightgowns worn by the main character.

"Cathie's costume design for Jane was extremely important," explained Pontuti. "Seeing how she goes from being prim and proper in the beginning and then becoming more disheveled throughout the film helped display her mental transformation."

Media X professor Gary Armagnac provided Loreth with voice lessons for the time period and Conservatory professor emeritus Robert Coburn composed the score.

“I am honored that these incredibly talented colleagues lent their creativity and expertise to this project,” said Pontuti. “Their contributions made a compelling and important story even stronger.”

The film will debut at Cinequest Film Festival in the Silicon Valley. Recently voted Best Film Festival by USA Today readers, Cinequest combines innovation with the arts to empower filmmakers, and to connect audiences, youth, artists, and innovators.

Pacific has a rich history in movies. Powerhouse actors Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis and Chris Isaak are alumni and the Stockton Campus has been featured in a number of blockbusters including “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” ” “The Sure Thing,” “Flubber,” “Dead Man on Campus” and “Dreamscape,” among others.

The campus remains a highly desirable location for production companies based on its central valley location and reputation as one of the most beautiful campuses in Northern California and the country.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is scheduled to premiere on Saturday, March 20th at 7 p.m. PST. The film will be available to view for 10 days and tickets can be purchased on the Cinequest website.

Trailer for The Yellow Wallpaper