Andover Moviemakers Club hosted their annual Flash Films event last Friday night. With the opportunity to write, direct, shoot, and edit a short film within 24 hours, students huddled up in the Freeman Room writing movie scripts. Here are eight of the films created by student directors.
No Calories, No Sweeteners, All Smiles (Directed by Guilherme Lima ’24, Aviva Cai ’24, Michael Ma ’24)
“No Calories, No Sweeteners, All Smiles” is a horror-esque comedy short film about being haunted not by ghosts, but by the popular beverage Bubly. The film begins with Lima buying an anthropomorphic Bubly drink. He then neglects the can, which is personified by sticky notes with sad and angry faces drawn on them. The Bubly stalks Lima throughout the film, following him suspensefully into various buildings across campus. In an ingenious comical twist, a Bubly army turns Lima into a Bubly as well. Inspired by a past Co-President campaign video last year, as well as Ma’s love for Bubly, the directors used this unique premise to portray conventional horror themes in an unorthodox and lighthearted way.
Lima said, “It just came very naturally what we wanted to do; we wanted to get these horror tropes and twist it in this funny way, so that’s where the writing came from. We just did it very lightly, going with the flow, having fun with it… we had a very specific vision of what we wanted it to be, and we were all on the same page, so that’s why shooting was so fluid.”
The Fourth Wall (Directed by Dorothy Swanson Blaker ’24)
“The Fourth Wall” is a psychological thriller film in which two students, working on a flash film idea, feel as though something is off. They go to another room where they find everyone eerily fixated on their computer screens. In a unique twist, it turns out that they are watching and editing footage of the two students themselves. Another character then pulls the two confused students aside and explains what breaking the fourth wall means and that the unsettling presence they felt was the audience, watching them through the screen. According to Julia Carmona ’24, an actor and friend of Swanson Blaker, addressing the concept of the Fourth Wall helped their film stand out.
“With the Fourth Wall, I think it’s not a common theme in movies where the actors are discovering the fact that there’s somebody watching them, so I think that one was really original,” said Carmona.
Living at PA (Directed by Jac Gordon ’25, Annabel Tu ’25, Lily Williamson ’25, Ginny Marshall ’25, Ariana Zhao ’25)
“Living at PA” is a satirical mockumentary following the everyday life of a PA student, using “The Office”—like filming techniques to poke fun at certain aspects of campus such as procrastination, food in Paresky, and hookup culture. The film’s directors used their perspectives as Juniors to create this dramatic reality-TV-like comedy. Featuring cameos from many students unaffiliated with the Andover Moviemakers Club, this film also stood out with its lively and diverse range of settings and scenes.
“It wasn’t stressful but it was very tiring; we didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before because we were so busy writing and generating ideas and stuff like that, and then the next day, we nonstop just were filming throughout every meal—we took a camera around different parts of campus, and so it was tiring, but it was a really good bonding experience because we all got to spend 24 hours just working and collaborating on a project, so it was really cool,” said Williamson.
Anger Management Issues (Directed by Sui Yu ’23, Mason McCormack ’23, Dagny Bingham ’23, Lydia Palmer ’23, Cisco Hernandez ’23)
“Anger Management Issues” is a comedic short film about students expressing anger in unexpected and comedic instances—hence its title. With scenes ranging from outrageous off-key singing to throwing tantrums in the Garver Room, this flash film was met with uproarious laughter during its screening on Friday. The creation process of “Anger Management Issues” was similarly fun and lighthearted. According to Yu, a challenge during the process was trying not to laugh or get distracted by the silliness of the film.
“I hope people laugh[ed] and had a good time; there’s not really much else to it… I hope it comes across as funny on screen, but when we were filming it, we were just dying laughing, so each scene, even writing it, we wouldn’t even have filmed it; you would just have ideas, and we’d just be like on the floor crying,” said Yu.
Another (Directed by N.D. Nwaneri ’24, Nathan Blumofe ’24, Jonathan Jin ’24, Christian Gomez ’24)
“Another” is an eerie and suspenseful horror short film directed surrounding Gomez, who plays the main character, slowly exploring settings such as the empty Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) and Cochran Bird Sanctuary. Sudden jump-scares are scattered throughout the otherwise quiet and unsettling film, such as a hand creeping upon Gomez’s back. The complete absence of talking and diverse range of camera shots also contributed to the unique suspense of “Another.”
“I hope to make people scared, which it did, thankfully, but also something added about the point of the movie is [that] there [are] not many actual creepy scenes, but it’s supposed to be things that would lead to creepy scenes. So basically the audience’s mind scares them before there’s anything actually on screen. It’s like having the audience scare themselves,” said Nwaneri.
Andover Psycho (Directed by Wyatt Rogers ’22, Eshwar Venkataswamy ’22, Corbin Kukk ’22)
“Andover Psycho” is a parody of the horror thriller film “American Psycho.” Drawing parallels from the film “American Psycho,” the film follows an Andover student portrayed by Gil Parker Freeman ’22. He becomes jealous of a more successful peer, who is acted by Rogers, leading to a brutal murder. Parker goes on to confess his crime to a friend, who tells him that he actually saw Rogers recently, leading to the film ending with the student manically laughing. Though the seven-minute short is nowhere near in length to the hour and a half “American Psycho,” it still pays homage to many aspects of the original movie, including the iconic opening shower scene and the overarching theme of materialism.
“‘American Psycho’ was made in the ’80s, and it was on materialism in the ’80s. It’s meant to be Patrick Bateman, the main character and American psycho, is this investment banker who’s really rich, really wealthy, but he’s a complete psychopath. He goes around killing people, and he does all these horrible things, but because he has wealth, people don’t really care. That’s the message of ‘American Psycho,’ and so it’s sort of the underlying materialism. What we wanted to do with this was how similar everyone is in that sense, so we tried to copy that,” said Rogers.
Treasure Hunt (Directed by Ronin Pulpati ’23)
“Treasure Hunt” follows a group of friends on an adventure through the Garver Room, the Chapel, and then finally to the Sanctuary. At the Sanctuary, they find two pills: the heart pill, which represents “going into greed and what the person wants instead of picking the right thing,” and then a generic pill. One friend takes the heart pill, hallucinates a shadow figure, chases him, and eventually stabs him out of self defense. The story takes a dark turn when it is revealed that he actually stabbed one of the friends. While their storyline was intense, the group focused more on cinematography rather than plot. According to Pulpati, a notable cinematic choice was in the Chapel, where the camera was fixed along the “axis” of the paths, only moving left and right with the movement of the characters.
“Cinematography was a big thing that other groups didn’t [use]—they had great movies, but I think we really focused a lot on individual shots and transitions and different motions of the camera, and that set us apart a little bit,” said Pulpati.
“Horror Movie” (Directed by Kevin Chen ’24)
“Horror Moive” starts off as a comedy film about Juan Sepulveda ’24 trying, yet failing, to find a Valentine. Chen found himself frustrated and saddened by the way his film was turning out and reflected this feeling in his character. Chen embraced the emotions and conveyed a character struck with sorrow. According to Chen, incorporating parts of his real self into the film was the most unique aspect of the film, which allowed the character’s emotions to come with ease.
“I think the most unique part of it is [that] I had characters [who] were real people—well not characters, just one, which was me, because really I did not know what to do, and I was feeling sad and helpless because I did not like what I had, so I added my own character into it, which no other group did,” said Chen.