The aroma of salty butter overwhelms the theatre as the lights dim and all attention focuses on the large dark screen. It’s a moment poised with anticipation – often due to a creatively curated movie trailer.
Anna Rinko ’19 has made the creation and study of movie trailers her hobby ever since taking a digital storytelling course at UMW in high school.
“Trailers take the best parts of a movie and put them into beautiful, cohesive storylines,” said Rinko, who has made more than 50 trailers to date. “Movie trailers tap into evolutionary biology, purposely triggering different associations through the music or style of the cuts.”
Rinko focuses her work on older films, which she edits as a way to ‘resell’ the movies to modern audiences.
“Older movie trailers tend to have a large amount of narration and choppy cuts,” said Rinko. “They simply haven’t aged well and come across as cheesy.”
Jim Groom, executive director of teaching and learning technologies, took notice of Rinko’s affinity for media editing.
“She was hard to forget because she fell in love with video mashups,” said Groom, who taught the digital storytelling course in 2012.
Rinko went on to research the physical and emotional effects of movie trailers as her junior and senior high school projects, later asking Groom to be her faculty advisor. Her final deliverable: the video Absolute Peace, which Groom called ‘a trailer for humanity.’
“The goal was to make a product that would be emotionally compelling,” said Rinko, who used BBC News footage and the soundtrack for the Iron Man 3 trailer to make the video. “Absolute Peace highlights current events and puts them in perspective through recurring themes and the lens of the past.”
Last spring, Rinko presented her research to a room full of faculty as UMW’s Digital Media Workshop kickoff speaker – quite an achievement for a high school student.
“Listening to her present was one of the best moments I’ve had in my 10-year career at Mary Washington,” said Groom.
Yet Rinko is accustomed to achievement. She graduated valedictorian from King George High School and earned her associate’s degree, before being accepted to UMW with a full-ride as a Washington scholar.
“She is operating at an intellectual level well beyond her years,” said Groom. “And she handles it all with so much grace and humility.
At UMW, Rinko intends to continue to making movie trailers in her free time, while pursuing a double major in digital studies and communication and biology, with a minor in neuroscience.
With her track record, no one doubts her ability to succeed.