Student-Made Shorts

The vision of neon colored metamorphosis, the power of scent to resurrect and illusions of the eighth wonder of the world captivated audience members last Friday in Kemper Auditorium. Student directors explored these themes with experimental and class-made films at the Spring Film Festival. Alex Kalil ’09, head of Andover Filmmakers Society as well as the MC for the evening, introduced the films to tumultuous applause, as students cheered on their friends, screaming encouragement and support for the directors and actors. When the racket finally died down, the lights dimmed and the audience waited in eager anticipation. Michael Kontaxis’s film “Aroma” kicked off the festival. An experimental film that oscillated between grayscale and color, tragedy and comedy, the film told the story of a dying man suddenly brought back to life by the smell of his wife’s cooking. Kontaxis’s film featured impressive camera work and an abrupt but humorous ending. The popular and innovative film “The Process of Thought” used animated chalk figures to show how ideas literally grow, while “Take off Your Cool” directed by Kyle Leahy ’10 by Jen Gerald ’10, starring Melissa Ferrari ’10, took a silent but emotional stand against conformity. Other films chose the comedic route: Tori Kent ’12 and Kalil collaborated to produce “The Jade Amulet,” using hilarious clips they had found of two boys’ failed attempt to create a kung-fu action thriller. “Colortrip” by Daniela Pimentel ’11 was perhaps the most abstract of the evening’s films. “I wanted to make something really ‘out-there’ and dreamy and different,” Pimentel said. “I was so proud of [the finished film.] The process was completely enjoyable and completely rewarding.” The film used creative cinematography to overlap and blend footage of three girls: a writer, a painter and a dancer. Colors, words and motion filled the screen and mingled together, captivating the audience’s attention. In the words of Kalil, “Hooray for pretty girls being creative!” Louisa Chafee ’09 contributed two unique and enjoyable films to the festival. “Picture Perfect,” a stop-motion film about a “metamorphosis” machine that transformed Morgan Healey ’09 into a magazine cut-out and “Freedom of Speech,” a movie in which Rekha Auguste-Nelson ’09 got shot for leaking information to The Phillipian about corruption in the PA administration. “I love making films; It’s really fun to boss people around!” joked Chafee. “[Watching my film] was so nerve-wracking, but it was a cool moment.” No two films contrasted as greatly as “Hit and Run” by Andrew Lyman ’09 and “No Point in Time” by Reid Mosquera ’09. Lyman created a harrowing portrayal of a soldier fighting guerrilla warfare in the dead of winter. Mosquera used artistic cinematography to tell the story of an Andover student’s experiences with young love and everyday worries. After these polar opposites came “Lost” by Caroline Kaufman ’10, a film featuring stunning shots of Broadway and Grand Central Station in New York City. “The Little Boy Who Could,” directed by and starring Olamide Babatunde ’09, was a blast from the past, as it had been filmed three years previously when its actors lived in America House as Freshmen. Despite its length, the film was enjoyed by all, especially the Seniors, who roared with laughter at Babatunde’s hijinks. The story followed a young math geek named Kevin who was bent on revenge against his stuffed-animal-killing dorm mate Tony, played by Jack Walkovik ’09, and Tony’s bodyguards. Highlights of the film included Ricky Chen ’09 standing in the football stadium, beating his bare chest like King Kong, and the epic video game battle between Babatunde and Walkovik. Another crowd favorite was Kontaxis’s “Tired,” in which two boys told their teacher (Peter Watt, Instructor in Physics) that they had missed their Chemistry final because of a flat tire, when they had really gone to a college party. Having begged to take the exam the next day, the boys arrived early and began the test, only to find that the question “Which tire?” was worth 95 percent of their grade. The film ended with a close-up of Watt looking particularly smug, and the audience chuckled with a new understanding about the film’s name. “I really enjoyed ‘Tired,’” said Alanna Waldman ’10. “I loved the ending, and it had a really clever title.” “I’m partial to my own [film],” said Kalil. “After that, I really, really liked [Babatunde’s] ‘The Little Boy Who Could.’ It was hilarious. Half-way through watching it, I was like, ‘This is sick.’ I really liked [Pimentel’s film ‘Colortrip’] as well.” “I was pleasantly surprised [with the way the festival turned out],” Kalil continued. “For it being a beautiful day, and me not doing as much publicity as I should have… the place was pretty full; I was happy.”