On April 27 at 7 p.m. the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts hosted the 15th annual Cinefest– Fairfield University Film Department’s marquee event. Cinefest is a student film festival that showcases films that the students have been designing, producing, editing and filming all year. This year, 14 of such short films were shown.
The films ranged in content and the audience was moved through numerous emotions: laughter, tears, thrills and heartbreak.
On the humor front, Thomas Cron ‘19 directed “Happy Birthday” which featured a young man throwing himself a birthday party in which no one attends. This film kicked the evening off and had the audience erupting in laughter. In the film, the young man arranges everything one would need for the best birthday ever: party hats, noisemakers, music and cake. Despite his efforts, the only attendee was the pizza delivery man. As he went to cut the pizza delivery man a slice of cake, the pizza delivery man escaped through the bathroom window. Once again, he was left alone to enjoy his one person party. Cron blended humor and self-pity to suggest a deeper meaning of being content with yourself and making the most of it. In the end, the young man wrapped and opened his own presents instead of wallowing in self-pity on the couch. “Happy Birthday” took home the award for Best Production Design.
This year’s event featured a thriller, “Crawlspace,” which took home the Audience Award. Senior Steve Collins directed this short film, and before it played, he explained that he was inspired to make this film because when he was young he asked his dad to put a lock on a crawlspace in his bedroom. Who knew that this small request would one day turn into a thriller? This film had the audience on the edge of their seats as a college-aged girl returns home to a troubled mother and no father. The mystery looms large as it is unclear as to what happened to her father. The editing was superb to the extent that it fully captured the horror of what went down in the crawlspace.
The biggest winner of the night was “The Quiet Pain” directed by Timothy Amatulli ‘19. Amatulli took home the top prize, Best Film, as well as Best Director. “The Quiet Pain” was entirely in Japanese with English and Japanese subtitles. This film portrayed the drama and trauma of a wife discovering her husband had been cheating on her and how this disrupts the family in subtle ways. It pained the audience to see the pain the wife endured. The tension was palpable as the family came together to share a meal. It was also intriguing for the audience to see that familial and marriage problems are universal. Even if there were no English subtitles, the audience still would have known exactly what happened, which really showcased the brilliance of this short film. The panel of industry experts agreed, and awarded this most deserving film Best Film.
The remaining awards went to: “Il Suono Della Citta,” directed by Ella Danna ‘19 for Best Sound Design, “Munch,” directed by Gianna Llewellyn ‘18 for Best Editing and “The Cross He Bears,” directed by Lisa Angell ‘19 for Best Screenplay.
It was an enjoyable night for all attendees. While the audience was treated to the final product, it was clear that a lot of collaboration, long days on set, and editing took place to create such amazing films. Each film had its own brilliance and at times, I forgot that this was students’ work instead of industry professionals. Bravo!
“Happy Birthday,” directed by Thomas Cron ‘19
“Landline,” directed by Colleen McElaney ‘19
“The Cross He Bears,” directed by Lisa Angell ‘19
“The Quiet Pain,” directed by Timothy Amatulli ‘19
“Munch,” directed by Gianna Llewellyn ‘18
“Navy Brat,” directed by Brendan Smith ‘21
“Il Suono Della Citta,” directed by Ella Danna ‘19
“Washing Machine,” directed by Max Pribnow ’27
“Curtain Call,” directed by Justin Demas ‘21
“Crawlspace,” directed by Steve Collins ‘19
“Bella Ciao,” directed by John Laske ‘19
“Smell the Roses,” directed by Lisa Angell ‘19
“Outsider,” directed by Caitlin Brunnock ‘19
“U Up?,” directed by Phoebe Herbert ‘19