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Sunday, September 26, 2021

UC Davis student to screen feature film at Varsity Theater

On May 18, UC Davis students will have the opportunity to see a feature-length film written, directed and produced by one of their peers. At 10:45 p.m on May 18 at the Varsity Theater, there will be a screening of Part Time Thief, the new film by fourth-year biochemistry major Stephen Leung.

The plot revolves around Arthur, a prospective medical student in Davis who becomes a thief to support his parents and pay his tuition costs. When he crosses paths with a rival thief driven by more sinister motives, events quickly spiral out of control.

This is the most ambitious project to date for Leung, whose credits so far have included a short sitcom entitled Freshman 15, before dabbling in action with last year’s UC Davis Lightsaber Battle, which was filmed on the Quad amidst a lunch-hour crowd.

Production on Thief first began nearly a year ago in June, and the final DVD copy was completed only earlier this month. In the meantime, Leung has labored long and hard over the project.

“I pretty much lived at the SCC this past Winter and Spring quarter,” Leung said. “It’s been a huge learning experience. We spent a total of $0 on this film, using only what we had to make it.”

Leung also received a good deal of help from his actors, the majority of whom were discovered in Filmmakers’ Ambitions, an on-campus club that serves as a networking resource for aspiring filmmakers, connecting them with actors. Others involved in the project came from AggieTV, Dead Poets’ Society and even from the UC Davis faculty.

Jazmin Sheppard, a fourth-year English major and psychology minor, found out about Leung’s film through the Filmmakers’ Ambitions Facebook page.

“I had an amazing experience working on this film. So much so that I was able to convince some of my friends from Elk Grove to come to Davis to be extras in the film too,” Sheppard said.

Clinton Ngan, a music and psychology double major, was approached by Leung to compose the film’s score.

“This is my first time composing music as a background and collaborative element. It has been very rewarding, and I definitely learned a lot about composing for film instead of composing just for listening,” Ngan said. Ngan’s work in instrumental pieces helped contribute to the authentic cinematic flair of the film.

Leung organized about 50 other individuals to pitch in personal time, making the 78-minute film possible. He has plans to submit the film to an international festival and is holding its debut in Davis as a way to give back to the community. Saturday’s showing will be the first chance to see Part Time Thief in public, let alone on the silver screen.

Although Leung plans to head to pharmacy school in August, he still considers film a hobby and has no doubt that he will engage in future projects. After Saturday, his work is sure to reach a wider audience.

The official theatrical trailer for Part Time Thief can now be seen on YouTube, on the UCDFreshmenFifteen channel. The film will be shown at the Varsity Theatre on May 18 at 10:45 p.m.

ANDREW RUSSELL can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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