24
arches
summer
2013
by Soren Andersen
photos by Daniel Peterschmidt ’15
A
t Kilworth Memorial Chapel on a sunny
Sunday afternoon in March, Jake Bisuut
’16,
in a tie and gray suit, stands at a
lectern, center stage, and speaks in solemn,
measured tones: “Members of the student body,
faculty, and the administration of the College of
Puget Sound: We have at last come to the place
where we must part.”
Outside, it is 2013, but inside the chapel for
a brief time this afternoon it is 1942, and Jake is
speaking the words of Shigeo Wakamatsu ’42,
one of approximately 30 Japanese-American
Puget Sound students who, along with more
than 100,000 other U.S. citizens of Japanese de-
scent, had been ordered to internment camps by
the U.S. government in the wake of the Dec. 7,
1941,
attack on Pearl Harbor.
Standing beside Jake as he speaks is Daniel
Peterschmidt ’15, who films the scene with a
digital SLR camera attached to an apparatus
of his own design that allows him to move the
camera in a steady fashion. Greg Martineau ’14,
headphones clamped to his ears, holds a boom
mic to capture Jake’s words. Surveying the scene
is Liam Tully ’14, who calls “Cut!” at the end of
Jake’s speech, then after conferring quietly with
Jake, steps back.
And, action,” he says. Jake begins to speak
anew, in a process that is repeated half a dozen
times this afternoon.
In the first few rows of pews to the left of the
stage, about a dozen students, some in period
costumes, listen intently. One of them is Airiel
Quintana ’13. She is an extra on this day, but she
is also the person who wrote the script for this
movie. It is called
Commencement
.
Written, pro-
duced, directed, shot, and acted by Puget Sound
students, it’s a kind of tour through the universi-
ty’s past, portrayed through social issues on cam-
pus during three distinct time periods in history.
The students finished filming
Commencement
in May, just before finals, and it will be edited
and completed this summer. Its makers plan to
premiere the picture during Homecoming in
October.
Commencement
was conceived a year ago, when
Airiel and Romene Davis ’13, who would be-
come its producer, got to talking about what it
was like to be black students on a predominantly
white campus.
They were classmates, working toward de-
grees in communications. Romene said their
conversation that day in late spring was “about
how awkward it can be to be the only one of
something in a classroom. If I ever were to miss a
class,” she said, “everyone would notice.”
Both perceived themselves to be, at times, on
the margins of campus society. Which seemed
paradoxical because Airiel in particular was
deeply involved in all kinds of university activi-
ties. She was a resident assistant, she had a job
working in the registrar’s office, she belonged to
the Black Student Union, and she was a member
of an on-campus
sketch comedy troupe. And as
the capstone of her time at Puget Sound, s
he was
student speaker at this year’s Commencement
ceremony.
Yet, like Romene, Airiel had endured what
she termed “negative experiences” related to race
Making
Commencement
,
the movie