Capturing Couchettes; Millikan Student Cinema

A picture of Bethanie Langendorf, the director and producer of her short film Couchettes.

Bella and Cali

A picture of Bethanie Langendorf, the director and producer of her short film “Couchettes.”

Kassie Sainz, Page Editor

On April 6th, “Couchettes” premiered to an audience during a viewing held in Millikan’s auditorium. COMPASS senior Bethanie Langendorf produced and directed her debut short film “Couchettes,” which explores the connection between several characters journeying together on a train ride. 

The film was shot in the middle of January, spanning over the course of three days. Due to a student discount, Langendorf’s cast and crew were able to capture the entirety of the film for free at the Fullerton Train Museum. All extra money from the production’s budget of five hundred dollars was donated directly to the museum.

Langendorf’s inspiration behind her short film stems from her experience with people watching on the bus and from the concept of interconnectedness.

“I ride the bus and a lot of times I look around and see such characters. It’s easy to be involved in your own life but it’s interesting to look around and get beyond thinking of you as a person.”

“Couchettes,” which means a small train compartment in French, is divided into a sequence of seven plots that all relate to one another through its featured characters. The film is set upon a traveling train where the narrative flashes between different parties of passengers, slowly unveiling details that correlate with each other.

“There’s a lot of different people, a lot of different characters, situations, friends, family members, and so on and so forth,” stated Langendorf. “They’re all in their own worlds, not really acknowledging what’s going on around them. They’re just living their lives in one common shared space.”

 Prior to “Couchettes,” Langendorf wrote numerous screenplays, along with countless comedy sketches that she began as a freshman. However, this experience was her very first time producing and directing a film.

A picture of Bethanie Langendorf, the director and producer of “Couchettes.”

“I learned that I really want to do this as a career, which I wasn’t all the way sure of. This experience got me to a place where I’m like ‘yeah I can see myself doing this again.’”

On May 15th, “Couchettes” was officially accepted into the spring session of the  “Creation International Film Festival” where a winner’s list will soon be announced. 

As for the future, Langendorf has just finished writing a stop motion animation short called “Hip and Crilly” that she plans to shoot during her summer trip to Kansas. Additionally, she has three different scripts that she hopes to someday bring to audiences. She’s most excited to produce an untitled project of hers that will be a Western film that fuses themes of horror and camp

“It’s honestly life changing to just take a step back and look around at all the interesting people around you. You can find so much inspiration from the people around you and it can serve as a good learning lesson. As bad as it sounds, eavesdrop every once in a while. It’s kind of helpful and it can really put things in perspective for you.” 

Keep up with Langendorf’s future projects here!