Each year toward the end of the spring semester, the students and faculty of Fairfield University’s film, television and media arts program — along with friends, family and other members of the Fairfield community — come together for the independent student film festival, Cinefest. This year, this group gathered at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on April 27 to watch and enjoy the best films produced by students during the 2017-18 school year.
Cinefest offered a myriad of films ranging from a high paced car chase and a girl trying to make it in the movie industry, to an old timey comedic quest to warm a keg of beer.
Although I enjoyed Cinefest 2017’s film selection, I felt this year stepped it up a bit with the assorted content. Although good, last year I felt like the denseness of the material was too heavy at points, while this year’s featured films were easier to watch. It ultimately flowed better and provided a diverse selection of films to keep members of the audience who are not apart of Fairfield’s film community interested.
At the end of the evening, one film went home with the title of Best Screenplay, but also caused a lot of members of the audience to be mind boggled. “Melon Colon”, directed by Kienan Lyons, was the longest film shown at the 2018 Cinefest and one of the most surreal movies there. It was like watching an episode of the hit 90s television show “Twin Peaks” in the sense that there were some things that made absolutely no sense, yet you were oddly intrigued. Like “Twin Peaks,” “Melon Colon” also featured something that talked backward, along with edits and a plotline filled with absurdity.
Although the content was funny, it was definitely geared as an inside joke for the film department. The most laughs were coming from the row filled with people who worked on it – which great, this is a night to be proud of the work you produced, but it is also important to keep in mind the people who had no clue who worked on this, or what different inside jokes meant. However, even though I didn’t know exactly what went into making this, I found myself laughing at the absolute insanity of this student film.
Another entertaining film was “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” directed by Michael Lynders, which went home with Best Production Design and was an audience favorite. This took an interesting suspenseful and horror route about what could go wrong with selling one’s kidney.
This was the last film of the night and I thought it was engaging and funny, at times. There’s one scene where the characters are charging against the antagonist in a wheelchair. Overall, I was impressed with the effects and the ambiance that went into making this film. Lynders managed to do some pretty cool effects when it came to different fight scenes.
Finally, there is “Cold Comfort”, which won Best Cinematography, director of photography Michael Darchi, and Best Film, directed by Caitlyn Dour.
This film definitely earned the two titles it received. This was the story of a couple (played by Feliz Ramirez and Conor M. Hamill), specifically the female of the relationship, suffering from the after effects of a miscarriage. The film dealt with the chaotic and mixed emotions one feels after suffering some something as traumatic as this. It had a lot to say in such a short film, but there were little tiny things that definitely packed a punch in the overall production of it. For example, the film showed a montage of things, like a baby bottle spilling and water overflowing in a sink, that added to the chaotic feelings of the main character.
The entirety of the film was well put together and kept the viewer intrigued. I particularly liked the scenes where the two main characters, what I assume to be husband and wife, dancing, and then later on, the wife throwing an answering machine out the window as she struggles to come to terms with her miscarriage. It was beautifully done and it was clear as to how much effort went into the whole production.
Other wins of the night include “Pleased to Meet You,” directed by Molly Kennedy and Thomas Petroskey, which went home with Best Sound Design; “Anonymous” directed by Thomas Dour, which took Best Editing; and, finally, “Close to Home” directed by William Oakes, which won Best Directing.
Everyone attending Cinefest that night could tell the amount of effort that went into every single film shown. There was something unique and enjoyable about each one. You could tell the passion and hardwork each student went through in trying to put together these films and their struggles in making it the best they can be.