Going to the movies is a unique experience. From getting the biggest popcorn you can find at the concession stand to sitting down in your carefully picked seat, everything about the movies suggests an out-of-body experience. It almost feels as if you become part of the film, another actor fitting into the plot as a moviegoer.

Every year, students and their families come to the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts to enjoy Cinefest, an end-of-year film festival celebrating the achievements of Fairfield’s Film, Television and Media Arts students.

This year’s celebration of the FTM program’s hard work was on April 29 and did not disappoint. Each and every film shown resonated with me and the stories told through each film wove an intricate, unique pattern that intrigued and educated viewers.

“I always thought it was important to get people to look at an incredible person [Daniel Trust] who happens to be a refugee making a huge difference in an underserved, but incredible city,” said Heather Mooney ‘16 about her documentary, “Trust.”

“I wrote ‘The Farm’ to confront my own fears of failure and mediocrity as I graduate and enter a cutthroat industry like film,” said Phil Iervolino ‘16, director of “The Farm.” “I want people who view ‘The Farm’ to have a better appreciation for people who choose to live a life doing what they love, even if it doesn’t necessarily love them back.”

The selected films and documentaries were kept secret until about a week before Cinefest. The judges, on the other hand, were discovered to be people who played a role in the film industry. The members of the industry jury panel included Anjulee Alvares-Cinque of “Weinstein Company,” Clint Kenley of “Left/Right,” Tracie Holder of “Women Make Movies” and Tom Sladek of “Oscilloscope Pictures.”

After showing all 11 selected films and four shorter experimental films, the awards portion of the evening began. Up for grabs were awards ranging from best sound design to best director and many others in between.

Iervolino, winner of the best director award, credits much of his success to his crew.

“For me, getting into Cinefest was the win and the awards were gravy. But this means the world to me because while I was the recipient of the [best director] award, it truly showcases all of the hard work that my cast and crew put in,” he said. “A captain is nothing without his crew and I had one heck of a crew backing me up … all of that was recognized with this award.”

One award; however, stuck out from the rest. The Kenni Nwajagu award, named after a student in the FTM program who died of cancer in the summer of 2011, is presented each year to the director whose film focuses on people whose stories typically do not get told.

“Growing up the past four years in the film program, I have gotten to learn a lot about Kenni,” said Mooney, the recipient of this year’s award. “I think Kenni’s work and determination has definitely made an impact on the film department and on me personally.”

All award winners included:

Best sound design: Joann Cowley ‘16, “The Persephone Logs”

Best editing: Ally Giannini ‘16, “Never After”

Best cinematography: Tommy Petroskey ‘18, “The Persephone Logs”

Best director: Phil Iervolino ‘16, “The Farm”

Kenni Nwajagu award: Heather Mooney ‘16, “Trust”

Best documentary: “Fostering Promise,” directed by Carina Nieto ‘16

Audience choice award: “Never After,” directed by Giannini

Best picture: “Toxic Fantasy,” directed by Joe Flanagan ‘16

One Response

  1. Pamela

    I went to Fairfield with Kenni and I was one year above him. I did improv with him for a couple of semesters and was involved in Theatre Fairfield with him. I always appreciated how approachable and honest he was. He is greatly missed by everyone who knew him. His death was very tragic but it is wonderful to hear that a lot of great things are being carried on in his name.

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