Film Festival Features Student Directors

Laughter exploded from the Kemper Auditorium on Friday night as students and a few faculty members became fixated on the big screen of this year’s Film Festival. B.J. Garry ’10, the band’s lead singer, humorously welcomed the audience by asking if anyone would want to join him on stage in “expressing yourself with your body” for their opening song. This started the first waves of laughter throughout the room. After the affable opening, the co-organizers of the festival, Natalie Cheng ’10 and Daniela Pimentel ’11, came onto stage to introduce the upcoming films. The first film, “Love Note” by Sam Poliquin ’10 could not be any funnier. There was no one in the auditorium that did not guffaw at Poliquin’s hilarious story of misunderstanding. The short film told the story of a boy, played by Andrew Fraser ’10, bored in class who suddenly notices a girl, played by Tavie Abell ’10. They exchange love notes, but the note mistakenly lands on another boy’s table, played by Mike Bernieri ’10 and the film was concluded with Bernieri’s uproarious acting. The audience was caught by surprise by the contrast of Poliquin’s second video, “Bad Dreams,” especially since this movie told a somewhat heartbreaking and mysterious story of a girl who was attacked, played by Melissa Ferrari ’10. Up next came “Preemptive Clerks and Their Tradable Currency,” filmed by Connor Hickey ’11. This was a longer video, showing the complicated daily life of a student, played by David Thwaites ’11. “Devour,” by Bijan Torabi ’10, was next to flash onto the screen. It was a short film that left quite an impression on the audience. In this movie Rachel Coleman ’10 stunned the audience with her excellent acting skills by ‘devouring’ left over food like a ravenous animal. “To tell you the truth, I felt like puking afterwards,” said Coleman ’10 on making this film. At this point, Kemper seemed like a big living room with everyone intently watching the movies and the occasional complaints about the lights in the room that were not completely dimmed. But all these complaints subsided when “Rock Band Boys in Room 301” by Dave Knapp ’10 brought back the laughter from before. Garry ’10 took the role of a boy in school who does not understand the importance of the game “Rock Band,” but ends up encountering it everywhere. The cinematography was excellent, switching between the normal colors of reality and the neon colors of existence in the game “Rock Band”. This year Michael Kontaxis ’11 sent in two videos for the festival. The first one, “Mist Fortune” tells a short and witty account of four women in an elevator. Its amazing quality and plot received appreciative chuckles from the crowd. His second film, “Free Parking” managed to impress the audience even more than the first, with its professional quality and thorough attention to even the slightest details. The film describes the magical adventure of three children playing the board game “Monopoly.” The spectators were so impressed that they asked to finish viewing all the credits, up to the very last second. “Michael Kontaxis’s film seemed a lot more mature, even though there were kids in it. It was definitely my favorite,” said Sophia Jia ’10. “Dark and Endless Corridors” by Jimmy Brenner ’10 ended the first part of the program perfectly. The entire audience was shocked by his incredible skills, as the entire film was a black and white animation, so polished it was hard to believe it was made by a high school student. After the band entertained the crowd with another great song, the showing resumed. Co-organizer, Cheng’s ’10 film, “That was Weird” proved again how much students learn in video class. Her use of the green screening and other various techniques amazed the crowd. Up next came Mike Bernieri’s ’10 “Don’t Get Stoned”. Bernieri made a film that sent a meaningful message to the audience in a creative and lively way, which gained a lot of approval from the audience. Another favorite among the audience: Patrick Wolber’s ’10 “Death of Stanley” articulately tells an interesting tale of Stanley after watching a TV infomercial, which was inspired by a sleepover at a friend’s house. Christopher Batchelder ’11 contributed two short films “Imogen” and “Birfday”, which both got the audience cracking from its suddenness. Lastly Kevin Carey’s ’11 “The Doghouse” flawlessly concluded the festival, with its liveliness and unique style. “Everything went as planned and the audience reaction was even better than I ever expected,” said Cheng. The event was a huge success and for those who could not attend, some of the films can be found on YouTube.